Diablo 3's RMAH Fraud Claims Gets The FBI Involved
(Update: The alleged victim has come clean and states that it was all a lie and he never called the FBI.)
Shortly after posting up news about one Diablo III's player issue with losing $200.00 in a region restriction policy, after depositing money into his account and trying to make a purchase in Diablo III's Real-Money Auction House, another gamer has gone the extra route of contacting the Federal Bureau of Investigation after losing $49.99 to another grey area of the Real-Money Auction House.
Blues picked up on the post thanks to a tip. However, the original story is on the Diablo 3 forums, which is actually a re-post from earlier because, believe it or not, Blizzard fanboys tried burying the story and derailing it into a flame-war. You might want to read the first post and skip the rest. Whether the guy is being completely honest or not is still up for debate but he's adamant that his case is legit.
Basically, he sold an item on the Real-Money Auction House for $49.99, the item passes out of his possession but he claims he never received the money due to Error 0, something that has been popping up lately for RMAH trades and the cause of another incident that Forbes recently exposed.
After filing multiple tickets and calling customer support several times, he was allegedly told that trying to contact them multiple times would not expedite his situation. After two weeks of waiting with no response, the user decided to call the FBI on Blizzard, with the claim of wire fraud. According to the user who goes by the handle of Welshers, his claim isn't the first one that the FBI has received regarding Diablo III and the Real-Money Auction House, but the user doesn't clarify if there is an ongoing investigation.
In a related case, another user also posted information on fraud cases that the FBI is currently looking into. You can check out the thread here on Google's cache, as Blizzard had the thread deleted. The thread points to the IC3, the Internet Crime Complaint Center for individuals who may have encountered situations similar to what we've been reporting on, where real life money has been sucked up into a digital vacuum and Blizzard is either slow to respond or not responding at all. Other users suggested that victims contact the United States Postal Inspection Service or USPIS at their official website.
This issue is mainly prevalent here in the United States, as Blizzard is having a legal tussle in other countries such as South Korea, Germany and France over anti-consumerist measures. As of the publishing of this article, there have been no reports of law enforcement agencies getting involved regarding the complaints from Korea, Germany or France, outside of each region's respective Fair Trade Commission and/or consumer advocacy groups.
This should really be a warning to anyone who decides to use the Real-Money Auction House: there is real money involved, your money and you can lose it. While the typical fanboy response is that "This is a game, you shouldn't have put real money into your account in the first place." it's still up to Blizzard to manage the responsibilities that come along with running a real-money market based on virtual item trades. Also, people, seriously, this is real money.
The safest bet is to stay away from the RMAH. This doesn't mean you can't play Diablo III, but by all means if you don't want to lose real money then stay away from the Real-Money Auction House, grey market sellers and black market sellers.
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