Virtual Worlds Target For Money Laundering

moneymoneymoney.jpg As if there wasn't enough discussion revolving around the problems of virtual worlds and real money, Symantech has announced that virtual worlds like World of Warcraft and Second Life are "being targeted by organised criminals to launder money and spread key loggers and ID harvesters". The way RMTs in virtual worlds take place means lots of small transaction that don't include the usual governmental oversight, making it easier for criminal elements to launder their ill-gotten gains:

The report says, "... a criminal enterprise could open several thousand MMOG accounts. Each could be used to trade with other players in the purchase or sale of in-game assets, the funds from which would ultimately be withdrawn from the accounts. Since thousands of accounts may engage in millions of transactions, each with small profits or losses, it would be difficult to trace the true source of the funds when they are withdrawn. These transactions can be conducted worldwide without the oversight that typically accompanies international bank remittances. In fact, in February 2007, China's central bank and finance ministries called upon companies to stop trading QQ coins and virtual currencies, presumably to curb the unregulated exchange of currency."

As if gold farming wasn't enough of a problem. I guess we can look forward to more official oversight in the grey area of virtual world transactions?

Second Life, WoW a target for money laundering [M-Net]


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