Who remembers the good old days when identity theft meant that somebody in Burma was using your name to sweet talk a tourist who would wake up the next day in a bathtub missing their kidneys? These days, when your identity gets stolen, chances are it just means some super-hacker kid is using your credit card to buy FIFA coins. Hacking into accounts or stealing people’s payment info aren’t the only ways to game the system in order to get unthinkable amounts of coins, though.
Just ask Anthony Clark and a few of his buddies, all aged 24, who pulled off an Ocean’s 11 style heist without ever having to leave the comfort of their homes. Rather than stealing from other players and innocent people, these guys went for a Robin Hood approach instead. They created a piece of software that would log thousands of FIFA 17 matches in just a matter of mere seconds, earning them tons of coins at the expense of EA. They would then unload these coins at bargain-basement prices to buyers all around the world, like some sort of international ring of sophisticated art thieves, except… not.
“Wait, they made HOW much?”
All in all, this gang of Merry Men managed to steal sixteen MILLION dollars worth of FIFA coins from Electronic Arts, which were sold on the black market around the world. Before you print their faces on t-shirts and start celebrating them as folk heroes, though, you should know that they didn’t get away with it. It wasn’t the perfect crime, after all.
EA says that buying these black market coins violates their TOS and could result in an account ban. The FBI, especially the divisions handling wire fraud, have much worse punishments lined up than just catching a ban. It’s serious business. When you’re dealing with fraud involving a video game like this, the perpetrators probabally don’t think of it as being all that serious. They aren’t breaking into anyone’s home, they aren’t even stealing from people, they’re just abusing a glitch in a game to generate tons of coins to sell to people that want to buy them… You can see how they might think it’s not a big deal, but when you start fraudulently earning millions of dollars from sales around the world, you can bet that somebody’s going to come knocking eventually.