Recently in a Groinstabber's Gold post I mentioned buying mats from hacked accounts, and that I though it was a good idea. At the time I did not really understand the consequences of doing that. A comment from Euripides (from the Call to Auction podcast) reminded me that buying from hacked accounts is risky and can get you permanently banned. But before I go on here's my story.
The most profitable Trade
When I first got into gold-making it was all about the AH game, until I saw a trade chat advertisement selling stacks of epic gems at well below AH prices. So naturally I contacted the person, bought the materials and went on my merry way. I made more than 10k profit that day.
I had a couple of more trades lek that one, and everything was well until, one day, after completing another such trade, I ran towards Stormwind bank only minutes later, only to see the guy I had just bought from, completely stripped of all gear. It dawned on me then I had bought from a hacked account, and I got that sinking feeling. I felt extremely guilty.
The next day I discussed thi with friends of mine. They assured me hacked accounts get all their stuff back. and I shouldn't worry. So I didn't I kept buying of trade chat sellers, except this time, I knew that the sellers were most likely hacked accounts or funnel accounts for hackers. Then after 1 such trade involving 48 Primordial Saronites and 12 stacks for Dreadstones, I was slapped with a 72hr ban. I received an email from Blizzard notifying me of the ban and explaining that I was suspected of "manipulating the in-game economy using real-world currency". I of course, immediately sent an email back, stating my innocence and that the trade was completed using gold, not money. 40 Hrs later my account was reactivated and I received an apology email from Blizzard.
Don't buy from hackers
Now it is important to note that my view on the issue has taken a reverse turn. I am now fully against buying materials from hacked accounts, and I'll tell you why.
I had a recent email exchange on the topic with Euripides and at the end of it he said something that made me think. He said "that they should punish the (gold)buyers, not the people duped by the sellers." I have always agreed with that statement, without goldbuyers there wouldn't be any Gold-sellers. Anyway, seeing that statement made me think of something else; when you buy from mats from these hacked accounts, you give them the gold that they will sell on. In other words you suddenly become the supplier to these gold-buyers, and, in my opinion, that is just as bad.
But lets look at it from another angle, one I haven't looked at before myself. The materials a hacker sells either from hacked accounts or funnel accounts are, effectively, stolen goods. Now would you buy stolen goods in the real world, knowing they are stolen goods? I didn't think so.
So how can we recognise hacked accounts? There are a few things to look out for:
1. The name- If the seller has name thats just some scrambled letters he could be a funnelling toon for hacked accounts (eg. Hposeutpsfh)
2. Attempt to engage the seller in conversation. Talk about the goods being sold. Hackers want fast sales, they want to minimise the amount of time they spend online, so they will only reply in singular words, or sometimes not at all.
3. look at what their selling and the price they are asking. Again, because of wanting quick sales, hackers will sell the most common materials (epic gems, Primordial Saronites, enchanting mats, etc) at well below AH prices. As they say, if you see a deal too good to be true it usually is.
It's just plain wrong
I won't be buying from trade sellers again, the risk is just too high for me, and more importantly, it feels morally wrong. I will not be a contributing factor to gold-selling or buying. Anyone who feels there's nothing wrong with buying from hacked accounts needs to get their blinders removed and see the whole picture - it's wrong, it's promoting the theft of accounts. What are your thoughts?
Let's all do our bit to stop these hackers and gold-sellers,