Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Identity Theft

A year or two ago, my father suffered from Identity Theft. It caused my parents all types of problems and stresses trying to get the matter corrected. I'm sure many of you have known someone who has become a victim. Recently, on Mother's Day, I found my son had become a victim of this.

I signed on to my favorite online game and saw that my son's character was also online. What? How could this be? He was in the shower! I went and checked his computer just to make sure and sure enough, it was off. OK. So someone had stolen my son's account. The gaming company had been warning about phishers and scammers working harder then ever lately to steal account information. They have warned and posted links to tons of information on how to protect oneself. Unfortunately, it seems our 'computer protection' had missed a potential malicious spy-ware cookie.

Well with time spent on cleaning the computer, changing and adding more security, resetting emails, passwords, etc., and adding other encryption stuff, hopefully, we will be able to avoid this happening again. In talking with a few online friends, they had a few friends whose accounts were stolen, then gotten back, only to have it stolen again within a week!

So why in the world would someone steal a gaming account? I understand credit card theft, bank account theft, but a game? It turns out that my son's account was stolen and moved to Europe. By the choice of character name spelling, one would guess towards a Russian or German area link not that that truly means anything because anyone can makeup any type of name. Anyway, where exactly, isn't really relevant. I'm sure the gaming company knows all they need to know, and have handled this person to the best of their ability. My son's account was recovered abet missing most everything he had acquired. Time will tell whether or not items/monies are reestablished. All the gaming items that were stolen have no real world value, or do they?

When I was speaking to the customer service rep, I asked him just why are they having such a crazy increase in game accounts being stolen? He said that there are so many different ways for spammers, scammers, and phishers to steal your information and once they get your account, they steal (sell) all your items and then 'sell' the gold they make from it to someone else who sends them real money for the in game gold. This seems like such a lousy way to make a living! But is it??

I must admit to a strange sense of curiosity as to just how much they actually make doing this. I have trouble believing that many people would fall for this concept but then I look around at society and realize that not all people want to work for their wealth. Oh how much easier it would be to just acquire wealth! But if it's 'easy' is it really worth it? Where's the challenge? the value? the sense of accomplishment??

Times are currently hard all over the world. Many people are without jobs, or only being able to find part time work. Most people I know are planting food gardens to help them get by. This isn't the first time in human history for times to be trying. It isn't the first time for thieves to look for a way to steal.

Once we were able to regain my son's account, we noticed that whomever had stolen it, had used it to gather and mine resources to sell to gain more wealth. I personally find this funny as they still had to log the game time same as any other player, to gather those resources. So using his character, ultimately, didn't save them any effort. I'm guessing that it saves them having their accounts canceled?? Either way, just how much real money can be made this way?

Well I can't answer that question but I will warn you to pay attention to your computer security. Vultures are everywhere.

1 comment:

jugglingpaynes said...

There was some point last year when I kept getting spam comments about buy gaming gold (I forget which game). I agree with you, it seems to make playing the game pointless. But if you think about it, the game is just an extension of our culture. People want everything to be easy, whether they are cheating on a test or cheating on a game. I would feel sorry for them, except I don't really feel sorry for laziness. :o)

Peace and Laughter,