Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Ain’t Givin’ You No Tree-Fitty: Recruitment Scams and You

The universe has instructed me to write this blog post.  No, I have not been drinking Tiger’s Blood with Charlie Sheen and getting messages from my god-like peers.  However, the same themes keep crossing my path over and over again.  I just figure it’s time to take the hint.

Over the past few weeks I’ve come across several instances of EVE Online players getting caught up in recruitment scams.  These types of scams are not as widely recognized as the typical Jita Scam even though there are hordes of “I got scammed out of [instert ISK amount/Assets] by [Insert Corporation/Alliance Here].”  A new twist in this trend is that this type of scam has now started to target entire corporations and alliances; not just individual pilots.

Recently one of my Voices from the Void listeners has the experience of being one of the unlucky few caught in a recruitment scam.  This particular scam was ran by a member of Goonwaffe, the executor corporation of Goonswarm Federation [GSF].  They wrote in to VandV Podcast and shared their experience after we aired a news story about another GSF scam.  Here is their experience in their own unedited words:

Greetings, I just wanted to share an unfortunate experience I recently had. The long and short of it is I was scammed out of a lot of ISK and several ships by an active member of GoonWaffe, who was openly claiming to recruit on GoonWaffe's behalf. His name was Hopeless Bromantic, and he promised to have my ships moved from high-sec to VFK-IV for me, free of charge. Not long after this was done, he revealed GoonWaffe's intentions in an mail, demanding 300M ISK for my ships back. This was done with the full knowledge of GoonWaffe. I hope people will be able to save themselves some ISK and avoid the thieves. I don't want to sound like a crybaby over this, I know I have no power, no recourse; I just want other players who might fall for this as I did to know and be proof against it. Lots of people say this is standard operating procedure for them, and that it was general knowledge, but what can you do when you're among the few who don't know it? I'm sorry if this is not the best place to send this, I'm just not sure how would be the best way to get the word out. Thanks for reading this!

The particular scam used above is not the “usual” recruitment scam that you hear about, but there are still many pilots that fall for this ploy.  Usually what happens to most pilots is the same thing that almost happened to a friend of mine.

Just yesterday I received a conversation request from a long time in-game friend of mine.  He explained that he had grown bored with his current path, but lucky for him he had an application in review with Goonwaffe.  Needless to say my spidey senses went up instantly.  I ask him if they asked him to pay ISK and he admitted they wanted a 500mil application fee.  The next 30 minutes of the conversation was spent on me trying to convince him of the truth:  He was being scammed. 

Naturally he was reluctant to believe me and I understand.  No one wants to believe that they could be the victim and fall into right in to the clutches of a scammer, but it happens.  It happens a lot.  Like I said before, there are hordes of threads from pilots that have fallen into the same trap and the trend shows no sign of ceasing.

In fact, the trend is growing.  Entities such as GSF have become more brazen with their scams and have started to set their targets on entire alliances.  A high profile case of this is the Pure Blind Freighter Massacre that Fuzzy Logec Alliance suffered early September 2011.  The story was covered by several media sources including Interstellar Correspondents, EVENews24 here and here and you can see the battle report yourself on

Just to drive the point home, I’m going to include a few more links you should read.  As you go through them you’ll notice that all of the links included are pilots outing corporations or alliances for recruitment and rental scams.  You’ll also notice that these links cover a variety of corporations and alliances, but I do pick on GSF and Test Alliance Please Ignore [TEST] slightly.  You’ll also notice that these links have a range of dates and personal experiences and scams used do vary.  

And if 20 different examples of these recruitment/rental scams aren’t enough; there’s more.  Entities like GSF and TEST have come out openly and said they do not recruit publicly.  They also go on further that that recruitment is only open to those that are already members of their social groups and those recruits must be active members of the social groups for a minimum of three months.  The only other way to join these organizations is to have a personal sponsor and anything else is a scam.  Need to see it in print?  Then check out this Goonwaffe public wiki article and this Dreddit public wiki article.  It’s right there in print.  Just to add a little cherry on top, you can hear TheMitanni, executor of GSF, say the same thing with your own ears in a Lost in EVE Podcast* recorded 09.09.11.

Don’t be Stupid.

*Special Thanks to Araziah for reminding me of this interview.

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