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Old 09-19-2007, 12:18 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2
Default WoW a Target for Money Laundering

Symantec's Internet and Security report has predicted that WoW and other on-line games will soon become a favourite for money launderers and fraudsters, seeking to move money between countries.

An article on m-net says that:
Many persistent virtual worlds (PVWs), such as Second Life, and massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), such as World of Warcraft, allow players to conduct real-money transactions in virtual worlds. Players can use credit cards or other payment methods to purchase virtual credits and then exchange those credits with players in other countries, where they may be withdrawn back into local currencies. These transactions have evolved into a de facto international monetary system with exchanges for trading (virtual) currency across virtual worlds or different games.

The report goes on to say:
...a criminal enterprise could open several thousand MMOG accounts. Each could be used to trade with other players in the purchase or sale of in-game assets, the funds from which would ultimately be withdrawn from the accounts. Since thousands of accounts may engage in millions of transactions, each with small profits or losses, it would be difficult to trace the true source of the funds when they are withdrawn. These transactions can be conducted worldwide without the oversight that typically accompanies international bank remittances. In fact, in February 2007, China\'s central bank and finance ministries called upon companies to stop trading QQ coins and virtual currencies, presumably to curb the unregulated exchange of currency.

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Old 09-20-2007, 01:06 AM   #2
Collateral Damage
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 209
Default Re: WoW a Target for Money Laundering

Well, that certainly is interesting. The only thing is that this is something that can't really be stopped, unless we're willing to accept total regulation of the games that we play by government agencies, and I can say from the perspective of a gamer that I wouldn't want that. The reason I say this is because we would have to pay even more for the game, and that would drive avid gamers like myself to choose other games, even free ones, as they would be easier to pay for.

I don't have a lot of money, so the $15/month that I pay is almost too much.

Wow, I just thought of something... Why would they play WoW to transfer their money, when they could play something like Runescape that doesn't charge anything to play, and just do it there? Wouldn't that save them a LOAD of money? Hmmmm, is kind of odd when ya think about it.

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Old 12-03-2008, 03:11 PM   #3
Azzor Newcomer
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Default Re: WoW a Target for Money Laundering

This makes perfect sense, but it will be as difficult to stop as it buying or selling gold in the game. That is, unless blizzard starts noting every transaction that happens in the game that exceeds a certain amount a day - like the banks does when you deposit more than 10k at one time. Then you have to consider other sites like PlayerAuctions or Real Poor forums and the like and how will they be regulated? This truly is a conundrum. With so many goods being sold outside the game, how will they all be regulated? And can they be? Here is China's government trying to tax the player and his or her goods but even they don't have a good answer to how to actually do it.
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