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Last week I asked our community to share their sleaziest stories of scamming or being scammed in online games. I expected we'd get some fun tales that we could all laugh about, but instead the comments section filled with anecdotes of such absolute savagery that I lost hope for humanity. Not only are some of you unconscionable in your unwavering commitment to screwing over your fellow person (or friends), but a few of you also suffered dearly at the hands of strangers on the net.
I've sifted through hundreds of comments to bring back what I feel are the worst, sleaziest, most underhanded stories. Whether it's screwing over your best friends for a quick buck or falling for the same scam twice in a row, all of you should feel bad. Really bad. For better and for worse, here are your most underhanded stories of scamming.
It's one thing to use a silver tongue to trick someone into handing over a few items, but it's another thing to get your girlfriend to pretend to be a cam girl in order to scam some poor, lonely soul for 10 million gold. That's exactly what commenter Mugen did while playing .
"I once scammed a guy from Italy out of 10 million gold in Vindictus," he explains in the comments. "I told him I was a cam girl and I'd Skype him if he transferred the gold to my character."
Apparently Sleepless in Italy needed a bit more proof before he was willing to part with his precious gold, so Mugen somehow convinced his girlfriend to play the part. "I got my girlfriend to go on Skype with him and she posted fake cam girl pics and pretended it was her," he says. "After we got the payment we let him know he shouldn't trust people online and then deleted and blocked him on Skype. I've never felt so horrible."
Mugen's comment doesn't offer more details, but I have a million questions. How does someone even convince their girlfriend to pull this off? I don't know what makes me more depressed: That someone would stoop so low for gold or that someone would actually fall for it.
You should never take a ride from a stranger—especially if it's in and there's zero reason why that person shouldn't break your legs and leave you for dead. It might not be a traditional scam, but FixTheBloodyGame (let's call him Fix) has a story so brutal that it's only made worse by the fact that they got nothing out of it.
"Back when DayZ was an Arma 2 mod, myself and two friends had become fully geared, had a helicopter, and basically hit the endgame without much else to do," they explain. "What we ended up doing was offering lifts around the map using our helicopter and arranging this via side chat. Needless to say, we had some ulterior motives."
They stumbled upon a freshly-spawned player trying to get across the map so he could team up with his friend. "We met up in Electro, got him to drop all his gear and loaded him into the chopper and set off flying northeast. After 3 minutes of flying, he got very confused and asked where we were heading. 'Just a quick stop at our base,' we said."
As Fix explains, in the far northeastern corner of the map is an island so small that no zombies spawn on it and most players don't even know it exists. "We dropped the guy off on the island and said he should follow us to get some gear from our 'buggy tents that go invisible.'
After watching this poor sap run around trying to find the invisible tents, Fix decided to get nasty. "I shot him in the leg with a DMR, snapping them instantly," Fix writes.
But it gets worse.
"We quickly bandaged him, healed him up (his legs were still broken) and got him to crawl across this island to our helicopter. As soon as he got close we flew away. After he started getting sad in side chat we flew back to him and fixed his legs—only to snap them and repeat the whole process again."
Fix explains it was only when the island was a tiny dot on the horizon that they fully realized what an ass they had been. "This poor guy just wanted to meet up with his friend. He now only had a few choices: Swim to shore (which would take multiple hours), starve to death (again, multiple hours in real time), or quit the server and never return. There was no suicide button and he had no gear to kill himself with."
"We got a lone message in side chat after all this, a simple ':(.'"
Reading this story, the optimist in me hoped that maybe Fix and their friends would find their conscience and head back for their crippled passenger. Nope.
"Our pilot got very sad for him, the rest of us laughed our arses off."
XyzzyFrobozz's story is legitimately infuriating and proves that EVE Online isn't the only MMO where you can't trust your closest friends. "I started a guild in on the Nimrodel server called the 'Rangers of Arnor,'" they write. "I worked hard at recruiting and raiding to the point where we were becoming a medium-sized guild of about 50 people. Word was spreading that we were active and friendly, and so we started getting quite a few applications."
"A good friend of mine unfortunately took his own life. I had to travel out of state to be with his family and help with the arrangements, so I handed over some of the control of the guild to a 'trusted' friend in the game—specifically the ability to recruit or ban people from the guild. I explained what was going on and that I wanted the guild to continue growing by admitting people while I was away."
Apparently even a real-life tragedy won't stop some people from abusing power. Xyzzy returned to a terrible surprise. "When I returned I found the guild had grown by five players... and that my 'friend' had kicked me from the guild and taken it over as his own."
"I never played LOTRO again."
I don't blame them.
We received a mountain of entries involving Runescape. This MMO is a madhouse of skullduggery, but Jake Brandt's story stands out because he was so hilariously naive as to fall for the same scam twice in a row.
As he explains, his pride and joy was his full set of adamantium armor, which was the second-most powerful in the game at the time. Around that time, Jagex had released special sets of armor that had ornate gold or silver trimming along the outer edges. It was highly fashionable and Jake wanted some. "I had heard about gold trimmed armor but knew nothing else about it, so when a guy on the road offered to upgrade my armor I happily accepted his generous offer and handed over two pieces of my gear."
There's just one problem: there was no way to convert normal armor into trimmed armor. Instead of learning this lesson, Jake decided to roll the dice a second time.
"After a brief mourning period for my lost adamantium equipment, I kept walking down the road and there were a couple of people at a crossroads. One of them walked up to me and offered to add gold trim my remaining armor. I don't remember how I could have possibly thought it was a good idea to try this again, but I did. I even made him swear he wouldn't keep my armor like the last guy."
"And that's the story of the time I ragequit Runescape, never to return."
On the next page, someone gets the shit kicked out of them in real life.
Zed's willingness to think on his feet is astounding. While playing Diablo 2 one day, he found an open public game named "Cody come" and decided to play a trick: He was going to pretend to be Cody. "I joined the match with a stupid idea in my head that I was going to pretend to be the guy's friend," Zed writes. "After joining the game I went to my stash checked out some items and was just doing my thing and the other guy in that current game said 'Hello' and I replied "Hey man, one sec gonna get a drink' and he said 'Cody?' I waited a minute or so and said to him 'Yeah this is my paladin account.' So at this point he was gonna either call my bluff or believe me."
But before the other player could decide, another player joined the game.
It wasn't Cody, but a random PvPer who immediately turned hostile and challenged the two to a fight. "I quickly invited the other guy to my party which he accepted and we ran out of town only to be slaughtered. We lost a boat load of gold and this guy was getting very upset," Zed explains. Then Zed saw his opportunity to strike.
"Now I knew what item he had because I was a dork and could tell if someone had an ethereal weapon. It was obviously one of the high end game rune weapons because we were in hell mode," Zed says. "I told my buddy that with my current build I could kill the amazon if he would just give me the item. I requested trade and to my surprise the trade window opened."
"'You better give it back dude, I'm not joking,' the guy said. I got the item and left the game."
Again, please don't give strangers your rarest items. Even if you think they're Cody.
Many of the stories we received took place while playing games, but BunnyBot 5000 had the unfortunate experience of being scammed through Steam's trading interface. "Several months after Team Fortress 2 had gone free-to-play, my most sought after dream at the time was a Max's Head to accompany my rabbit-themed username, BunnyBot writes. "I had acquired the illustrious hat by way of birthday money, and was open in my flaunting of it."
"Now here's where it gets weird - I had, by this time, made several friends through Steam." As BunnyBot explains, one friend, "Andrew" lived just down the block from him. "Late one night, I began messaging with Andrew and he requested I trade the Max's Head to him as part of some sort of elaborate prank. In my tired, sleep-deprived mind, I figured that Andrew was the kind of guy to do this kind of stuff, and if he tried to skimp me, I could just walk down to his house and chew him out. In my moment of weakness, I traded him my most prized possession."
There was just one problem: BunnyBot wasn't speaking to Andrew.
As BunnyBot quickly realized the moment "Andrew" unfriended him and ran off with his Max's Head, "another one of my Steam friends had a very similar screen name to Andrew's."
When BunnyBot began messaging him thinking he was Andrew, "the sleazy fuck" played along with it and "pretended to be [his] friend."
"I traded this stranger my most prized possession and he immediately unfriended me and made off with his ill-gotten gains," BunnyBot laments. "I learned my lesson that day: Scammers are not always just some kind of weird broken-English bot that tries to add you out of the blue. They could already be on your friends list, lying in wait for just the right opportunity."
Of all the stories we received, Jirka Týr's is easily my favorite. A common theme in most of these stories was that the scammer always got away without consequence, but Jirka paid dearly for his scam.
Back in 2006, Jirka and his four friends, barely teenagers, got into playing Runescape. As he explains, they knew very little about the game and spent a great deal of time on YouTube learning how to play. That's when they came across a video teaching how to lure people into the open-PvP Wilderness so you could kill them and take their stuff. They were very excited. "We were all around 11-12 years old so we had boners harder than steel."
Using computers at their school, the five friends decided to give the scam a try. "We tried pretty hard for a good hour and almost everyone looked through us and reported us," Jirka says. " After another four days of trying and no result, I was kinda pissed off it doesn't work—probably because English isn't my native language and all I could say back then was yes, no, hello, and bye. It was kinda hard and we were just copying and pasting every word we saw in the video."
Frustrated by his inability to trick other players, Jirka decided to turn on his friends.
"One day I started yelling that I finally got some guy and I'm going to kill him," Jirka writes. He explains that he convinced his friends to drop everything to come to his aid but only bring their cash so they had more room to pick up his victim's items. Except there was no victim.
Earlier, Jirka had used all of his cash to purchase a set of rune armor—some of the best in the game. When the first of his friends arrived, he immediately attacked and quickly killed him. "All I saw was his red, steaming face over the monitor," Jirka writes. "I kept my cool and tried my best to have the most serious poker face. He yelled at me 'Why did you kill me you dipshit?' And with all my skill I turned slowly on him, tilted my face a bit and said 'What are you talking about?' I said that couldn't be me because I was somewhere else—I was lying and all it would take to catch me was for him to come to my computer and look at what I'm doing."
Over the next few days, Jirka succeeded in pulling the same stunt on the rest of his friends, looting their dead bodies until he had over 100,000 gold. "I bought every single expensive thing I could find and what did I do when I had all this expensive gear and cosmetic shit on my account? I showed it to my friends!"
This would prove to be Jirka's undoing. Immediately his friends deduced who had scammed them and taken all of their gold. "They didn't react by calling me a swine or an asshole," Jirka says. "It was literally punches, kicks, hitting me with a chair…"
They beat the shit out of him.
"I ended up with 5 really small open wounds, broken nose and few cuts on my face," Jirka writes. He explains that this all happened at his school in the Czech Republic, and his teachers had to call his parents to come and get him. "After my mom saw me she nearly cried and my father was angry as hell."
At the time, however, no one knew that Jirka had broken his nose. "My nose hurt like hell so I went to my mom and told her about it," He says. "She just grabbed me by the nose and yanked it to the side. When it moved, it scared her to the death and I went to the hospital that night, we had no car at the time and even no driver license so we had to wake up all of our neighbours and ask them to drive us."
But getting beat up wasn't even the worst punishment. "My account was completely wiped out.
Nobody from those friends talked to me that year, and I looked like an ogre because my nose was four times bigger than usual."
I guess the lesson here is not to scam people who are within arm's reach of you.
Or, you know, just don't scam people at all.
Comments were edited for grammar and clarity.