FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment over WoW Gold Farming

April 14, 2011 -

The FBI has raided the apartment of two University of Michigan students to investigate what it has called "potentially fraudulent sales or purchases of virtual currency that people use to advance in the popular online role-playing game World of Warcraft." The story comes from Computer World. The FBI thinks the two students are terrorists who are doing "something" in World of Warcraft to further some sort of terrorist plot. It's hard to say what exactly they suspect from the two within Blizzard's virtual world, but they obviously aren't going on a hunch here.

The two students, a sophomore and a junior, shared a University Towers apartment in Ann Arbor, Michigan were raided by the FBI and had several items confiscated for further investigation including laptops, hard drives, unnamed video game systems, credit cards, a cell phone, undetermined paperwork and other computer equipment.

The unnamed college sophomore told AnnArbor.com, "They [the FBI] thought we were involved in some kind of fraud. I'm pretty sure they have the wrong people, but they took all my stuff."

The student goes on to say that neither of them play world of Warcraft and that the FBI has targeted "the wrong people." Could it be that the FBI raided the wrong apartment?

Investigators don't think so. They say that at least one person at the address they raided was involved in a "scheme to set up fraudulent bank accounts to buy and/or sell 'virtual currency' or 'gold' to be used in the game."

Federal Court records show that the FBI is investigating gold farming and its apparent connection to terrorism. In this case, agents were looking for online transaction records associated with WoW and a number of other web sites such as the Chinese gold-farming website gameusd.com, eBay, PayPal and the United Services Automobile Association.

Source: Computer World


Comments

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

 

"Federal Court records show that the FBI is investigating gold farming and its apparent connection to terrorism."

Hey Mr. FBI guys, for those of us who don't see everything in the world as a connection to terrorism, could please explain this "apparent connection?"  We don't spend all day reading Tom Clancy books or constructing conspiracy theories where ‘the terrorists win’, so we’re a little confused.

Here’s a thought I just had while typing this:  Could what the FBI actions be considered terrorism itself?  They forced themselves into someone’s home and disrupted their lives by taking important things from them (mind you they were students so they probably needed those computers) all under the name of protecting the US against terrorism.

 

Possible substitutions for “gold farming”:


Federal Court records show that the FBI is investigating breathing and its apparent connection to terrorism.

Federal Court records show that the FBI is investigating rabbits and their apparent connection to terrorism.

 

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

"It's hard to say what exactly they suspect from the two within Blizzard's virtual world, but they obviously aren't going on a hunch here." I think you're giving the FBI entirely too much credit.

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

As much as I hate gold farmers even I agree this is a bit much.

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

When you buy gold, you're funding TERRORISM.

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

In the past, DHS and others have tried to link piracy and terrorism. In their addled minds, this is probably just another logical conclusion that they've drawn from straws.

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

While "buying gold = FUND TERROR" is too far, "buy gold = fund ID theft" is reasonable. After all, there's a reason so many WOW accounts get stolen and stripped. That's how the gold sellers get their inventory -- they deal in stolen goods.

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

Seriously?

FBI doesn't have anything better to do than act as the enforcing arm of Activision?

Unless their gold farming operation is very large scale, there's absolutely no way it'd hit any reasonable threshold that should warrant FBI's attention.

The guys are probably not paying taxes on the income from their operation, but I don't see any other reason for the FBI to go on a fishing expedition.

Fraudulent bank operation? Give me a f***ing break!

-- http://pixelantes.blogspot.com/

Re: FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment ...

So basicily they are probably currency traders or wholesalers.. but because it was virtual currency rather then the real stuff they were labled terrorists rather then given tax breaks and bailout money?

 
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IanCSame as PSN handles it, fi you are trying to say only nintendo do that.09/23/2014 - 2:23pm
Andrew EisenYou have to try to purchase something first. Pick a game, hit purchase and if your wallet doesn't have enough to cover it, you'll be given an option to "add exact funds" or something like that.09/23/2014 - 2:05pm
MonteI have seen no option for that on my 3DS; anytime i want to add funds it only gives me the option to add in denominations of $10, 20, 50 or 10009/23/2014 - 2:03pm
IanCWhat Andrew Wilson said. PSN is the same when you make a purchase over a certain price (£5 in the UK)09/23/2014 - 2:02pm
Andrew EisenNeither eShop charges sales tax either. At least in California.09/23/2014 - 2:00pm
Andrew EisenBoth Wii U and 3DS eShops allow you to add funds in the exact amount of whatever's in your shopping cart. If your game is $39.99, you can add exactly $39.99.09/23/2014 - 1:57pm
Infophile@Matthew Wilson: As I understand it, any regulations to force tax online would also set up an easy database for these stores to use, minimizing overhead.09/23/2014 - 1:30pm
MonteReally, the eshop just does next to nothing to make buying digitally advantagous for the customer. Its nice to have the game on my 3DS, but i can get more for less buying a physical copy at retail. And that's not even counting buying used09/23/2014 - 1:18pm
MonteIanC, The Eshop wallet system only lets you add funds in set denominations and the tax makes sure you no longer have round numbers so you ALWAYS loose money. A $39.99 game for instance requires you to add $50 instead of just $4009/23/2014 - 1:13pm
Matthew Wilsonbut thats just it those sites, even the small ones, sell all over the country.09/23/2014 - 11:12am
Neenekoeither that or it would follow the car model of today. big ticket items are taxed according to your residence, not where you buy them.09/23/2014 - 11:07am
NeenekoI doubt it would be the retailer that handles the tax in the first place. If it goes through it would probably be folded in as a service on the processor end or via 'turbotax' style applications.09/23/2014 - 11:05am
Matthew Wilsonsimple there are over 10k tax areas in the us for sales tax. it would be impossible for small online retailers to handle that.09/23/2014 - 10:55am
IanCWhats wrong with charging tax in an online shop?09/23/2014 - 10:47am
E. Zachary KnightI don't see why it would be that difficult to maintain one. Especially for a news outlet with multiple people on the payroll.09/23/2014 - 9:37am
Matthew Wilsonthey can, but will they? more inportantly will the traditional sites be willing to do the extra work to maintain the list?09/23/2014 - 9:02am
E. Zachary KnightSo how will it reduce the power of the traditional games press? They can create curated stores too.09/23/2014 - 8:39am
Matthew WilsonI think its a good thing, but it does mean traditional games press will have less power than ever before. To be fair most of the gaming press were never big on pc gaming anyways.09/23/2014 - 8:33am
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, is that a bad or good thing?09/23/2014 - 7:43am
MechaTama31When you say "youtuber", I picture some sort of customizable potato...09/22/2014 - 10:48pm
 

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