Web-based communities are a combination of chat room and computer game where
participants can buy and sell real goods using virtual currency. One example
often cited is Second Life
where players trade using so called ‘Linden dollars’.
But Steven Philippsohn, chairman of the Fraud Advisory Panel’s cybercrime
working group, said: ‘Members use these interactive sites to buy and sell
tangible goods and services such as land and property, clothing, music and
bookmaking, But there’s nothing virtual about online crime, it’s all too real.
It is time government took this seriously.’
The panel believes there are several problem areas with virtual games which
illustrate their ‘darker side’, including the risk of credit card fraud, the
hacking of databases and identity theft, new opportunities for money laundering,
tax evasion and unregulated cross border money movements.
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