But lurking in the underworld of this game are people who are playing a very different game - scamming their fellow players, online games crime is alive and well in World of Warcraft. Some of these scams are entirely in-game, and others rob you of real money. Wherever large groups of people gather, there are some few who will be dishonest, and take ruthless advantage of the others.
Some Online Games Crime MethodsThe most basic way players are scammed in online games is entirely within the game, trading game funds or equipment for something that isn't what it seems. Many people argue that this is just part of the game and doesn't really constitute online games crime, it simply should be accepted - but it's still no fun to discover that you traded your expensive and rare equipment for something cheap and worthless. There are many places online that can tell you what various pieces of equipment are worth, and you should check these before making a trade or purchase... especially if the seller is hurrying you.
Beyond this, there are a great many people who try to get your password to log into your account. They might steal all your gold and equipment, or - worse - use your account to dupe items or perform shady deals. When they're inevitably caught by Blizzard, the account that gets terminated is yours... not theirs. The most common way passwords are stolen is by someone claiming to be a Blizzard employee, who needs your password for some sort of account maintenance; a close second is offers to "hack" your account and add useful things to it.
Once you leave the game, there are many people who will sell you in-game items and gold for real money. It may seem like this is perfectly above-board, but it is a violation of the Blizzard terms of service, and can get your account banned... even if "everyone is doing it." The reality is that this gold and these items frequently come from stolen and hacked accounts, and the "power leveling" services many people offer are the way a lot of these accounts are hacked.
The scam works like this. You go to a company that offers power leveling services, and pay them money to raise your character to a specific level quickly. To do this, they need to log into your account, and once they've done the job they turn over the noe high-level character. Some time later, after they've been paid and you've given them a glowing review of their service, they return to log back into your account. Over the time you've played this high-level character, you've gathered a lot of useful equipment, and they pass it over to another account so it can be sold for real money.
Once you've been victimized by a company like this, there's nowhere you can go. There's no place you can complain. The only people who can figure out what happened and who ripped you off are the staff at Blizzard, and you can't go to them... because you've violated the terms of service by using power leveling in the first place, and your account can be banned for this. On top of losing the money you spent on power leveling, and the gear you collected with your newly-buffed account, you can actually lose the entire account.
The basic rule applies: never give your password to anyone. This basic rule of computer security will protect you from most of the truly nasty online games crime and in-game scams that can get your account banned, although it will obviously not protect you from being banned for something you actually did. It is highly recommended that you get the Blizzard Authenticator, so scammers can't use your account information anyway.
But the best thing to do is to keep it honest, be aware that online games crime is very active especially in a game like World of Warcraft. Play the game as it was meant to be played, be wary of people that may be trying to scam or cheat you - and never take your gaming pursuits into the real world, using real money.