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Account trading is one of the most lucrative gray and black market businesses in the world of MMOs, MOBAs and many free-to-play titles. Well, Riot Games is suing over stolen League of Legends accounts that have allegedly been used by a gray market reseller to make loads of money on those accounts.
Variety is reporting that a company originally named EliteSmurfs was selling accounts to users who wanted high-level profiles to use in Riot Games' free-to-play MOBA title, League of Legends. The company originally claimed that the accounts were born and bred internally, and that they sold the accounts to those who wanted them.
However, Riot Games decided to investigate for themselves and decided to send an infringement notice to Paypal to cease the sale of League of Legends accounts, which is against the terms of service. The owner of EliteSmurfs, Zachary Kaufman, replied and acknowledged the cessation of the EliteSmurfs services.
However, Kaufman quickly opened up another company called DivineSmurfs. It was the exact same thing, with the company offering accounts for League of Legends for a price.
Instead of instantly trying to shutdown DivineSmurfs, Riot decided to do a little bit of investigating. According to the court documents, Riot decided to purchase an account from DivineSmurfs, and then they decided to use their own tools to see how many previous owners had access to the account.
One of the things they found out is that even though DivineSmurfs stated that the League of Legends accounts were homegrown, the IP addresses showed that multiple individuals had previously used the account, with some of the addresses being from various countries from around the world. One of the IP addresses came from Arizona, where Zachary Kaufman was located.
Additionally, Riot alleges in the court documents that Kaufman's IP had popped up across more than 10,000 League of Legends accounts that had been sold to other users. This would mean that the accounts were being fraudulently accessed and resold to other users.
Riot had managed to trace this activity all the way back to 2014.
To make matters even worse, Riot noticed that DivineSmurfs offered a lifetime warranty on the League of Legends accounts they sold. Riot decided to test this by purchasing an account and then banning the account. When they attempted to contact DivineSmurfs about the account being banned in hopes of getting a replacement, the request was reportedly refused.
Riot alleges in the suit that DivineSmurfs is basically stealing accounts and reselling them for a premium price. The suit also alleges that the lifetime warranty that they were offering is not legitimate, and basically they just steal and resell League of Legends accounts.
Riot mentions that some of the accounts that DivineSmurfs were selling were attached to user reports indicating previously that their account had been stolen. This has cost Riot quite the pretty penny in refunds and other customer restoration services. It seems unlikely that DivineSmurfs will get off easy, especially when Variety attempted to reach out to get their side of the story and they declined the offer.
Riot Games also recently won a lawsuit against companies selling cheats for League of Legends, so they seem to have fairly decent chances of walking away with a win here.