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FBI Raids Students Over World of Warcraft Gold Farming

sjohnson
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Posted April 14, 2011 - By Stephen Johnson


World of Warcraft

The FBI raided the apartment of a couple of University of Michigan students to investigate "potentially fraudulent sales or purchases of virtual currency that people use to advance in the popular online role-playing game World of Warcraft." That's right, people, The Man could come and find you for doing the wrong thing in an imaginary world.

No arrests were made during the March 30 raid, and details are a bit thin because the records remain sealed, but according to federal court records, the FBI says it was investigating whether someone was trying to set up fraudulent bank accounts to buy and/or sell "virtual currency" or "gold" to be used in the game. Investigators took laptop computers, hard drives, video game systems, credit cards, a cell phone, paperwork and other computer equipment, documents say. They were looking for records of any online transactions with WOW, the Chinese-based gold-farming website www.gameusd.com, eBay, PayPal and the United Services Automobile Association.

One of the raided students (no names released because they have not been charged with a crime) says that the FBI has made a mistake, telling AnnArbor.com:

"They thought we were involved in some kind of fraud...I'm pretty sure they have the wrong people, but they took all my stuff."

If you're wondering why the FBI is worried about gold-farming, it could be terrorism. There is a theory floating around intelligence circles, apparently, that terrorists are (or could be) using MMOs to communicate, recruit and raise funds. 

Source: AnnArbor.com

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