Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New scam: contract margin trade scam! (and a 1B moron)

If it's profitable, it's a scam. This main guideline shall lead you. However some might still consider risking accepting a profitable-looking offer. To them, let me show how a very new scam works. At first let's see a scam contract:
It says that if you have the 3 deadspace modules and two contract-only mission items, you get 1.3B. The contract items cost about 70M, all you have to buy is 3 deadspace modules. Luckily for you, they are readily available in Jita:
So for 424 M you can get the items and trade them for 1.3B.

Like the standard margin trading scam, the point is to make you buy something overpriced. Let's wonder who put that 3 items on the market for 118M? Some hint:

Of course for the scam to work, the contract must fail. For that, this particular one uses an exploit:
The item Miniature slaver is bugged for some reason. No, it's not a different item with a similar name, if I right-click on my slaver and choose "find in contracts", this very contract pops up, still I can't complete it.

This scam can work without exploit, and probably was done without exploit until the scammer found the bugged item. The trick is that after you bought his overpriced items, he deletes the contract. Of course it needs him to be online and at the keyboard. He can increase his response time by adding trash items to the contract that waste your time while you pick them all. Finally he can gain more time by making you do an extra pair of jumps for the trash. I mean you buy the trash on Jita, buy the expensive item last, want to complete the contract fast, just to recognize that you don't have the trash. Where it is?

This scam is so well thought that I fell for it even without the exploit. He would have time to delete it while I pick up my trash. Luckily my overall business expertise saved me from serious losses: I looked around where else could I get items, so all I lost was the time while my Dodixie interceptor reached Jita with 3 items:
Actually I can end this contract with gains if he buys up my deadspace items, or the next victim does.

Being so happy that I found a new scam and did not even lost money on it, I started writing my blog, thinking about it and Alt-tabbing casually to update orders. Never update orders casually like the moron of the week: me.
Needless to say, I wanted to set up a buy order for 102M and not 1020. The warning box popped up, but the official price is screwed up, so it said "this item is 65454% over the price" so I accepted (many of my implants are getting these warnings with completely normal prices). Luck saved me once as I had an implant listed, so bought from myself, but the other one was purchased really. Way to lose 950M in 5 seconds! While you are laughing, please go to the official forums and support my suggestion for a confirmation box that could have prevented it.

You can join for trade discussions to the goblinworks channel.


Anonymous said...

It's not an exploit, just as in the Beancounter incident you are not reading the dialog boxes carefully enough:

"NOTE: The items must be repackaged before finalizing this transaction"

Many items (including the Miniature slaver) cannot be repackaged and thus can not be sold on the market or used to fill WTB contracts.

Gevlon said...

I bought it on contract. So if it was repackaged before, it's repackaged now.

Anonymous said...

This is why EVE is often called "harsh" by people. (Not everyone, but that's how for example we try to explain it to others):

Even if you're an expert (or, in your case, oncoming expert) in your field (trade), temptation, greed, or the simple fact of not being observant can cause one to make unforgiving mistakes, and there is always something else to learn or take into consideration.

By this, your very own experience, you might just want to reconsider all those "morons", "idiots", or whatever you called them and maybe rethink that their mistakes (landing them on a killmail) might have been no different than yours, although on different terms.

Of course I don't mean M&S in general, but mostly those people you've attacked for commenting on your posts, righting your wrongs or maybe that odd killmail you posted.

Or maybe consider that there is usually more to the picture that you, or for a fact anyone not involved can see, and it can be dangerous to jump to conclusions.

Finally: That scam is not that new at all, it's just a slight variation of a rather well known scam. I've seen these when I started playing, a little less than a year ago. It's tricky and quite some effort to pull off, but can be worth the time. More subtle variations can include cross tradehub setup of the items, and often some vary carefully selected non- useless items to make it even more believeable.

Bobbins said...

Ref - Trading Box
I have made similiar mistakes due to the large amount of transactions I do (Not on the same scale as I'm alot poorer than you). I would welcome the button idea.

However I suppose a counter arguement to your button idea is that it makes trading less risky. You have amassed a great deal of isk using trading with little or no risk. Reading the numbers you put into trade box is not that hard. If you believe in market PvP then perhaps entering the correct details into the sale box should be rewarded over someone who doesn't.

Anonymous said...

One way I use, as have been caught a few times by not being observant, is to only have the minimum amount required in the main trading account and keep the rest in the corp account, reduces the potential loss. One thing I would like added is password protection on wallets as an added layer of security to account theft.

Johnicholas Hines said...

One way to guard against scams is to try to understand the other side's business model.

Ideally, you can do trades where both sides profit - for example, people specializing in complementary skills and trading often do better than everyone trying to be a generalist. That's basic Adam Smith.

If there's information asymmetry, then perhaps you can do a scam deal, fleecing a noob. But the adage "you can't scam an honest man" applies. In order to fleece someone, the mark usually has to be (mistakenly) dismissing the conman's business model as unworkable/moronic.

An "honest man" who only does trades where both sides profit would be considerably more difficult to scam.

gnome of zurich said...

"If you believe in market PvP then perhaps entering the correct details into the sale box should be rewarded over someone who doesn't."

The reason people play market PvP is that it is an interesting game.

The reason that chess, backgammon, go, poker etc. are popular is that they are interesting games.

The reason that "don't make a typo" contests are not widespread is that they are not interesting. Yes, it's a skill, and most common games have some element of nitpicky attention to detail associated with competitive rulesets, such as touch-move in chess, but these nitpicky rules always have a game-relevant rationale. For instance, failure to enforce touch-move in over the board chess potentially makes it *much* more difficult to verify whether opponent has made an illegal move. Playing out of turn or other etiquette breaches in card games can potentially be exploited give a player an unfair advantage. Etc.

And notice that in online computer moderated versions of these games, most of those nitpicky rules are enforced by the software such that they *cannot* be broken. Instead of penalizing you for playing out of turn, the bridge server simply signals an error, or waits to show your card to the other players until it is your turn, etc.

Because unless you are a proofreader, finicky details are not the point of the game. The interesting part of market PvP is understanding and finding ways to profit from the market, not typing correctly.

Anonymous said...

First off, this is nothing new - this scam has been around forever.

Secondly, it is not an exploit. I have it comfirmed by a GM that this is not an exploit - in their words it is "Market Manipulation". I did this scam in Rens for about 6 months a while back (accruing 35b+ while doing homework or watching tv and just tabbing back in every 5-10 minutes to link a contract in local), after I learned of it when my friend fell for it. Like you, I thought it was an exploit, so before doing it I petitioned the GM's to ask about its legality and they told me to go for it.

Azual said...

"I bought it on contract. So if it was repackaged before, it's repackaged now."

You can include an item in a Want to Sell contract without repackaging it - the item's condition is visible in the contract, so if you were to include a damaged item for example the buyer would know what they were getting. That's what you bought.

You can't use one to fill a Want to Buy contract however. If you could, the person who posted the contract would never know if they were getting items in good condition, or 99% damaged and landed with a hefty repair bill.

Bobbins said...

Gnome of Zurich
'most common games have some element of nitpicky attention to detail associated with competitive rulesets'
Chess is a game of avoiding mistakes. Every move matters. I make one mistake could cost me the game. There is no pop up box in most games warning them of incorrect moves nor should there be.

gnome of zurich said...

Every game, played at a high enough level, boils down to avoiding mistakes. My point is that deciding what moves are mistakes and what moves are not in chess is difficult and interesting.

What makes the game interesting, is not a mere matter of putting a piece on the square you intended to as opposed to one next to it, or avoiding accidentally brushing one piece while moving to pick up another. If correct moves were relatively obvious to anybody paying attention, and avoiding random slips was all or most of the skill in the game, why would anyone want to play it?

In chess, having a computer make it impossible to submit illegal moves, rather than penalizing you for making them accidentally does not materially change the nature of the game in any interesting or important way.

Similarly, having a computer give you a chance to proofread your market entry will not mean that you fix any interesting mistakes, only mistakes of inattention or reflex.

Bobbins said...

'or avoiding accidentally brushing one piece while moving to pick up another'
Under Article 7. The touched piece you would not have to move that piece as the action is not deliberate.

This guy discusses mistakes in chess. It is not about avoiding random slips its about playing your best game.
I don't see him whining about the touch move rule. If you don't touch the piece it is not an issue similarly if you don't enter incorrect data into the trade window it is not an issue. Do not touch pieces in chess that you don't want to move and check the data you enter the data in the trade window. Just as he is beyond the touch move rule you should be with regard entering trading data.

Anonymous said...

A faulty or poorly designed UI element does not add interest to the game. It can only add frustration. As has been stated, the fun comes from the market PVP, not second guessing whether you have correctly manipulated the game interface.

Anonymous said...

I fell for this scam last night in Jita. Lost 950mill all told. It had the Miniature Slaver, a Complex Fullerene, and Setele's Adaptive EM hardener Officer mod. There was only one of those officer mods for sale in Jita market for the 930mill. The others I got thru contracts right in the station there.
And then the dreaded "must be Repackaged" window popped up. What a dirty trick! :) Turns out the Officer module is only worth maybe 18mill. a shame. Wish I had read your blog yesterday afternoon before I fell for this. The Scammer even Convo'd me to have a laugh.
Now I'm trying to sell that damn Item in the market, with no luck so far.

beancounter Jaynara said...

what is the beancounter incident?

Anonymous said...

feel free, this one does not work anymore