Wednesday, 18 March 2009


You will have heard of the famous "Nigerian scam", whereby the recently widowed wife of a Nigerian minister (or similar) writes to you suggesting you share her late husband's ill-gotten loot by providing her with a way of quietly exporting it - namely, the details of your bank account. Needless to say, once the scammers have these details they waste no time hoovering out your life savings. A similar internet scam involves sending out fake letters, purportedly from bona-fide banks, requesting your account or credit card details for purposes of verification. It's amazing how many people fall for one or another of these - never mind that your bank has told you time and again, in letters of fire fifty feet high, never ever to release such details, not even to their own employees.

Well, it's a sign either of desperation on the part of scammers or of the growing importance of online games that the Nigerian scam has come to LOTRO. In the last 24 hours, many players in Europe will have received the following email: "Greetings, It has come to our attention that you are trying to sell/trade your personal Lord of the Rings Online account. As you may or may not be aware of, this conflicts with the EULA and Terms of Agreement of Codemasters and Lord of the Rings Online. If upon further investigation you are indeed attempting to obtain monetary profit against the terms of the user agreement, your account can and will be disabled. Codemasters has the right to consider legal action if necesarry, based on the severety of the action. If you hope to avoid account suspention you should verify your personal possession of the account in question. We at Blizzard Entertainment take infractions of the user agreement quite seriously, and we must confirm the original ownership of the account. Please Complete the information in [link removed] you are the owner of the account in question. If you ignore this mail your account can and will be closed permanently due to suspicions of alternative ownership. We ask that during the time of the investigation you give approximately twenty-four hours of inactivity after sending a response email. This should provide enough time for Codemasters to confirm your identity and that the terms of agreement are being followed as is necesarry."

Well, everybody should have spotted the wonderful howler about "We at Blizzard Entertainment", but there are other clues as to the African (or more likely East European) origin of this message. One is the odd misspellings ("necesarry", "suspention", " severety"), the other is the rather more subtle errors of usage which indicate a non-native English speaker trying to sound formal: "attempting to obtain monetary profit against the terms", "give approximately twenty-four hours of inactivity", and so forth. And of course, like your bank, nobody at Codemasters is ever going to ask you for this information. So do not, under any circumstances, click on that link.

No comments: