Saturday

Howto Not get scammed



Disclaimer: this guide is for educational purposes only. This guide is for protection of both parties, however, written as it is can be reversed and used for scamming. Do not do this. If you pick lines from my guide and scam people, wrath of Gods will find you.

Heya everyone,

Lately, the scam rate has upped significantly, so it'd be best if you pick up some tips from this guide on how to stay safe (both as buyer and as seller) and do everything you can to trade safely. Lets get started =)

1) Accounts


Seller
  • Do your homework. Nothing beats good old fashioned googling. Run everything you know, or think you know, and see what happens. 4 times out of 10, you will find a thread "Scammed by [buyername]" with the skype he's currently using to sweet-talk you into giving that priest up for an amazing price.
  • Use an alternate payment method, if you can. There's a lot of them ready for you: Skrill, Western Union, bank transfer. All these can not be disputed and the money is safe in your hands.
  • If you're forced to use PayPal, make sure to keep documentation for all your trades. DO NOT mention what you are selling the Skype conversation, simply say stuff like "I have what you want ready" or "I can do the business now". The reason behind this is that PayPal will blow you away if you tell them you sold an account, as they can't verify state of digital goods. However, if you sold services, you're good. So make sure your logs appear to show you selling services, and they will do everything in their power to help you out.
  • Do not send EVERY document you have. Send a picture of ID, send a passport even, but that's it. If you happen to engage in "recovery wars" with Blizzard and your buyer, a simple trick how to win is to take pictures of all the documents you have, both next to your face, and on top of todays papper. 
  • Use a middleman. There's a lot of trusted companies (real companies) that handle this stuff, and while they don't offer you the best price, you know you'll get your money and be safe, as chargebacks will be their problem.

Buyer
  • Use a website. You might end up paying a bit more (sites add % to the sellers price), however, you are completely safe and you have nothing to worry about. You get the account, all the necessary info without ever having to talk to the seller. Some companies (offgamers for instance) offer warranty on the account up to a year from the day you bought it, if anything happens, seller is responsible to handle it or pay you your money back, which they will do.
  • If you decided to go down the harder path, make sure to research all info you know about the seller. First step, validate what he is telling you. You can grab a free battle.net account, login, and run to him to inspect him and make sure his character is what he says it is. Once that is done, grab his E-mail and full name and run it through google in various combinations (full name + mail, first/last name + mail, mail without domain etc). If in doubt, type his E-mail in Facebook search and his profile will pop-up. Once you are certain they are who they say they are, you can proceed.
  • NEVER GO FIRST. They can recall the account at any point, so you are taking a risk if you go first. Grab an account + full information (date of birth, that's important) and pay them then, only to receive the ID once the payment is done. Make sure to write all the info down someplace and keep it secure.
  • Buy a name change. While they are expensive, if you already coughed up $500+ for a great account, paying $100 more for security is not a big deal. While they have ID matching the account they sold you, they will not have a matching ID for new last name or a complete new name. 
  • Do not engage in "restoration wars" as you will lose. Hire some help or call Blizzard and give them a nice story. You need to give them the reason to not believe the other guy, and to change your battle.net account completely, while transferring all the licences. If a seller submits a recovery form, submit one yourself and call Blizzard right after. 

2) Characters

I strongly advise against character trades. There's plenty of accounts out there, many of them with just one character if that's what your looking for, so pick a safest method (just follow the above) and buy an account. If you however decide to buy or sell just one character, here's what you should keep in mind.

Seller
  • Pretty much the same as accounts, but keep in mind that Blizzard has denied many cases of legit character theft and they did not restore the character. Legit cases as in account was hijacked, logged from a different country, character was transfered with a credit card that doesn't match the owners name. They still wouldn't restore it. So be very very careful how you do this. Your safest bet is to grab a new account, transfer the character, and sell the account. You can follow the guide for accounts trade and stay safe

Buyer
  • One way or another, you will end up with an account that has sellers first/last name, so why not either ask him to make one for you and transfer the character, or make one yourself and ask for the transfer. They initiate the transfer, you send the money via PayPal, they cancel the transfer, you take back the money. Make sure to NOT send it as services payment, as they can provide some proof and keep the money anyway. 

3) Gold


Seller
  • Sell it to a company! 
  • If you decide to go for private buyers, do your research. People report scammers there every day. Don't stop at the username. Compare the way they spoke with, words they used, typos they made to other scammers and you might get a hit!
  • Once you decided your buyer is not a scammer, there's no need to grab more info from him, but prepare the trade. Hop on a VPN, preferably in your buyers country, and do the trade. Stay on that VPN for a couple of days until you are certain they won't take the money back. If they do, however, call Blizzard and tell them you lost access to your account. Tell them when was the last time you were logged, why were you not online for a few days, and ask them to check for damages, without mentioning gold. You can always fight the dispute, but this is a much easier way.
  • One of the most popular scamming methods is partial trades. Your buyer will offer you a sick price, buy 20k from you for that price, and once you feel cozy about trading to him, he'll take the rest of your gold and vanish. So if a buyer wants to do partial trades, agree, but do equal amounts. If they want 200k, and they just bought 20k from you, keep doing trades no larger than 20k. While this is a security risk for your account (please use a mule), you can't possibly lose more than 20k if they decide to scam you, which is nothing compared to losing the whole stock.

Buyer
  • Buy from a company! There's a lot of them. Check links above for reviews
  • Check links above for known scammers. 
  • Be careful when trading with China. I'm not trying to discriminate anyone here, but fact is trading with China can get you banned easier. To avoid this, make your seller shout something ingame along the lines of "FIRST ONE TO ME GETS [order amount] OF GOLD" in trade chat, so you have something for show & tell. On a side note, bans that occur while trading with China are very easy to remove
  • Make sure to have evidence of the trade. Both for PayPal and for Blizzard, so it seems as legit as possible and in line with both of their Terms of Service. Use different words for gold on Skype, talk to the guy ingame before trading. "Hey mate, thanks for paying me back finally lol. See you at school tomorrow" can save you a lot of trouble. 


Dealing with PayPal and Blizzard
Regardless of what you are selling, or buying, if it comes to that point, you need to prepare your story. First and most important, you need to justify everything that happened with your account from the moment trade started, in a subtle way. So you will start with "I was playing [last logged] ago, and suddenly I got a dc. I had no internet for the next few days due to storm, and now I can't login! Is my internet going mad again or is it on your end?". That's a subtle way of letting Blizzard know when was the last time you had access to your account. Second, never admit to anything. If they call you out on it, which both companies try sometimes, act innocent and shocked. I went as far as asking "Wait, people buy gold?! For real money? You're kidding me right, it's so damn easy to farm as much as you need". Third, you need to ask yourself the same questions companies might ask you, and have answers ready. PayPal might ask you what's your relationship with the other party. Blizzard might ask you "can you tell me the name of your lv 5 character on [random realm]?" that you had no idea even existed. So make sure to have documents, your story ready and your facts straight. If they catch you by surprise with a question, and you can't answer it, you're done. That's the basics of social engineering. You need to graps the role and act as any other person would in such a situation.

Tips & tricks
  • Scammers are usually in a hurry, why, I have no idea. But their best weapon is time, they do their best not to give you time to think clear and see what they are trying to do. If someone is in a weird hurry to buy a character, something's wrong.
  • Scammers are usually not very intelligent (there are exceptions) else they wouldn't be scamming so small. An average person has that "sixth sense" when it comes to scamming, so if you feel that something is wrong, or you just have a hunch that the trade is bad, you're probably right.
  • Scammers usually offer you better prices or some other commodity that will stun you and make you forget this entire guide. If something is too good to be true, most of the time, it's not true.
  • Scammers in this market usually scam a lot of people. There's a trick when dealing with PayPal, in case you got a dispute to handle. It's a bluff, but something along the lines of "Me and my friend, we are programmers, and this guy paid both of us to fix his software, which we did, only for him to proceed by recalling both payments. Both me and my friend have separate and group conversation logs via Skype proving what I just said. Would that suffice as proof?" Use this one at your own risk, as they might ask for that proof, and you'll have to fabricate it or lose the dispute. 
  • Use a company! There's companies for everything, and their primary goal is to keep both parties safe and satisfied. They will not give you that extra $0.10 per 1000 gold, but they will take what you give them and pay you without any delays or hassle, by method which you prefer. 
  • Use Skrill as much as you can. Skrill keeps you safe, as chargebacks are really really hard to do.

- Be safe =)


That's it guys, I hope you liked it, and I hope you never get scammed. If you have any questions, fire away.
Peace!
 

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