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'Virtual’ Thief in Dutch Police’s Net

On November 14, 2007, Holland's police claimed that they had caught a 17-year old "virtual" criminal, who had thieved "furniture" worth €4 000 from a virtual hotel.

According to the police, the accused supposedly unlawfully accessed the accounts of other members of Habbo community. It seems that later he stole their furniture and took it to his own room.

In the lawsuit registered by the networking site, four 15-year-old teenagers charged with shifting the pilfered furniture into their own virtual hotel chatrooms were also interrogated.

Habbo Hotel is a global game and virtual community targeted towards teens. It has approximately 7 Million members. Habbo Hotel holds regional communities in 31 nations and has an annual revenue averaging €4 Million. Members of this Website can create and clothe characters, or deck their online hotel rooms with objects and furniture purchased with real cash.

For the Dutch police, this was the first case of apprehending somebody suspected to have perpetrated a virtual theft.

As per a representative of Sulake, the firm controlling Habbo Hotel, several such scams are happening in a number of nations, however, this is the first instance where the law enforcement have resorted to legal proceedings, reported BBC NEWS on November 14, 2007.

Since the furniture is bought with actual money, for this reason, it is considered as thieving. However, the only method of being a robber in Habbo is by lifting members' user IDs and passwords and then enter and steal the furniture.

The main reason for the company's intervention was the alarming rise in the number of Websites masquerading as Habbo. Users may then attempt to enter and in the process, get their private data purloined.

A police representative said that the accused would be indicted on two scores: illegal access and theft.

Online theft is a rising problem in the cyber world; in 2005, a gamer in China was knifed to death in a dispute over a blade in one game. In another similar instance in the bygone month of October 2007, in Second Life, a Brooklyn resident was charged with selling illegal copies of items from half a dozen virtual dealers.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

» SPAMfighter News - 23-11-2007

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