(For more resources on Runescape, see here.)
What do the scammers hope to gain?
RuneScape is a popular game, and there’s a huge real-world market for RuneScape gold and high level RuneScape characters. A character with a high combat level, some decent non-combat skills, and a lot of quest points and gold can go for more than $300 on the black market. That might not sound like much if you’re a RuneScape player that is attached to your character, but if you’re a scammer that steals other people’s accounts in bulk, and has no regard for the law, that starts to sound like some pretty easy money.
RuneScape gold is also sold on the black market, at a price of approximately £0.45 per million gold. Some of this gold is bought from players looking to recoup some of the costs of their account, but it’s a safe bet to assume that a lot of the gold comes from stolen accounts being cleaned out, or scammers ripping off players and selling on their ill-gotten gains.
Let’s not forget the people who scam for less nefarious reasons. Some people just like to feel that they’ve gotten the better of other people, and will steal from newbies or unsuspecting older players, just because they can.
Falling for a scam is frustrating, and can set you back a long way in your goals of earning that coveted party hat, cracker, or set of armor. It’s also embarrassing, because in hindsight the scam always seems so obvious. Stay on your guard, and don’t put yourself in positions where you are likely to be scammed.
There are several different types of scam. Some scammers rely on quirks of the RuneScape user interface, others rely on fast talking or social engineering, or on a player who does not quite understand the rules of the game.
Trading scams are some of the most popular types of scam. Scamming players will open a trade window, then close it, blaming lag. They’ll keep putting up a trade then close it again, hoping that you’ll agree to trade quickly (to avoid the lag). At some point during this opening and closing of the trade window, they’ll alter the trade, hoping you won’t notice that you’re not getting what you originally agreed to trade for; they’ve swapped their side of the trade for a worthless item.
Rounding out your money
Some cunning players will say I’m quitting RuneScape! I’m giving away my money. Show me how much you’ve got and I’ll round your money up to an impressive figure. You open a trade window and show them 700,000 coins. They put 300,000 in their side of the trade window. That looks like one million to you, so you accept, right?
Think about it for a second; you’re giving them 700,000 gold. They’re giving you 300,000 gold. They profit by 400,000 and you end up losing money. A surprising number of people fall for this scam.
Double your money
You may have encountered this scam in other games. It’s certainly a popular one in EVE Online, where it’s easy to tip people money without having to actually open a trade window with them. It happens a lot in RuneScape too, though.
The scammer offers to double whatever money you send to them. If you send them a small amount, say 10,000 gold, they probably will double it. Sometimes, they’ll even double a large quantity of money for one or two people, so that those people will vouch that the scammer is legit. In most cases, though, the scammer will just log in a couple of alternative accounts of their own to shill for them.
Once a few people believe that the scammer is legitimate, people will get greedy and trade him large amounts of gold. Of course, he’ll log out at this point, and keep all the money.
If someone offers you a teleport, look up the location before you accept it. Or even better, just don’t accept random teleport offers from people you don’t know. It’s common for people to offer teleports to safe-sounding locations that are actually in the wilderness. When you accept the teleport, you’ll find yourself surrounded by player killers looking to kill you and take whatever you drop.
Don’t trust people offering to trim your armor. Armour that you obtain untrimmed cannot be trimmed (well, with the exception of Dragon Armour, which you can trim with an ornamental kit). You can buy trimmed armor on the Grand Exchange, or you can earn it by completing the relevant scrolls, but that’s the only way you can get trimmed armor. Anyone offering to trim your rune set is just hoping you’ll hand it over so that they can run off with it.
If someone offers to tell you a way to dupe your valuable items, report them. For starters, if they know a way to duplicate items, then they know an exploit. Using exploits is forbidden by Jagex. They should have reported the exploit that they’d found to Jagex, so that it could be fixed.
It’s more than likely that they don’t actually know an exploit, and if you hear them out, they’ll tell you to hand over an item, or run an executable file that they’ll send to you, or drop an item on the floor and then press a magic key combination (Alt + F4, anyone?). The end result of their secret method will be that you either hand over an item to them, infect your computer with a Trojan, or drop an item on the floor and close your browser. They take either the item, or your account password. You lose a prized possession and end up looking, and feeling, foolish. Don’t do it.
Fake drop parties
Real drop parties> are held in the Party Room in North East Falador. In a real drop party, players will put items into a chest, and the items will be released through balloons, which the players have to race to pop, so that they could pick up the items.
Scammers often pretend that they’re holding drop parties so that people will give them valuable items, which they have no intention of dropping. If you want to take part in a drop party, use the Falador party room don’t hand your items to another player unless you know and trust them.
Password scams come in several shapes and sizes. Sometimes, you’ll get a message from someone impersonating a Jagex support worker, or a moderator, who will ask you for your password. Don’t ever give your password out. Jagex will never ask you for your password under any circumstances. You should report anyone who asks you for it.
Another way that people try to get player’s passwords from inside the game is by saying The chat filter hides your password. Look! My password is ********, see?
Of course, the player scamming has just manually typed a bunch of * characters. If you try it with your password, it will be visible for the world to see.
Some bold scammers try telling people to reset their password to a certain phrase and then log out to get free stuff. The players then look out for people logging out, and try their username and password. Jagex now require newer players to use an e-mail account instead of a username, which protects new players from this sort of scam, but older accounts that use a username are vulnerable to it.
If you see someone spamming chat with a bulk trade for a popular item, check the Grand Exchange to make sure the price they’re offering is legitimate, and then use a calculator to make sure the figures add up. You may find that they’ve conveniently added a zero to their price (or even just tweaked it by a little bit so they can claim that they’ve made an honest mistake, which still amounts to a sizeable profit for them).
When it comes to buying or selling, it pays to take your time and work everything out twice if you have to. If players get angry, yell at you to hurry up, or just act pushy, don’t trade with them. There are plenty of other people who will be happy to let you take your time and have a successful, honest transaction with you.
(For more resources on Runescape, see here.)
In-game scams are easy enough to avoid if you are cautious, and keep in mind the age-old mantra of if it looks too good to be true, it probably is, but Out-of-game scams are another matter.
You’ve probably already heard of phishing, the practice of sending authentic-looking e-mails to try to trick people into clicking a link and giving away your account details. Some phishing e-mails are pretty easy to spot. They contain a lot of spelling mistakes and poor formatting. However, some scammers are getting more creative, and they are taking the time to produce authentic looking emails that will fool most
The e-mail looks legitimate, right? It uses official RuneScape images. It mentions Jagex, and the blue underlined link looks like it points to the RuneScape website. http://secure.runescape.com.secure.scammerlogin.fakedomain/ m=weblogin/loginform.html?mod=www&ssl=0&dest.