Saturday, October 16, 2010

Amateur Hour- Cost considerations of Scamming

We recently had someone do a minor scam (4b) in Ivy.  Now, scamming is an amazing thing when done well, but there was already somewhat decent chance this would go sour from the very beginning. In fact, myself and Master Akira both posted something to that fact.  Despite this, I decided to invest 750m just to see what would happen.  At the worst, I'd lose some pocket change. At best, I'd make a bit of isk and see what was going on.

It did turn out to be a scam, and the person was quite proud of it.  However, I am having trouble understanding the economics of the scam.  For one, the setup for the scam (first legitmate run), may have cost anywhere from 0 isk to 1.6b isk to do.  Even assuming best case, where they walk away with the full 4b, I have trouble seeing how that payoff was worth the damage they did to their character.  Due to api information and their own admissions, this person has several public alts.  While some of them may have no skill training, others (including the scam char) do.  I cannot see how 4b isk is worth burning those characters.  Especially where more patience and planning could easily have upped the payoff to something that would allow them to just buy a new comparable character.

This makes me wonder how many scams are really planned from the beginning, and how many are just people who get sick of their endeavor and decide to take it all and pass it off as a master plan. I know that if I had done M&D IPO scams in the past (neither confirming or denying), I would make sure its on an unaffiliated account, spend some time building reputation, and if the account is linkable to any other account, make sure its one with a relatively low amount of training. This allows the payoff to cover buying a character that can easily replace the ones used in the scam. Only if the scam is very large would I consider using a character with significant skill training (depending on the function of the character. Characters that are trained to never leave a station don't matter, as long as they aren't linked to other characters that do).

My issue isn't with the scamming, as thats a celebrated part of EVE, but instead with the seeming lack of planning to truly make it a worthwhile scam.  While 4b seems like a lot to newer players, it really isn't going to do much in the long run, or probably make it worth burning the reputation of a character that could be used to make much more.

What are your thoughts? Is 4b enough for you to take a hit to your main's reputation?  I know I wouldn't doing anything to hit Azmodeus' reputation for 4b.  It would have to be substantially more (several orders of magnitude) for it even to make economic sense (I'm ignoring any ethical/moral considerations in internet spaceships to instead concentrate on economic factors only).


  1. I tried to invest and missed it.
    But 4b? I would have done a few more cycles and worked up to at least 50 or a 100. Either not planned or what ever they where doing for the payout isk was not going to work this time. 4b for the 3 characters I know about, just doesn't seem worth it (and I have yet to get to 1b yet).

  2. To make it clear I have never scammed, my previous comment seems a little unclear on that point at third reading.

  3. Thanks for the clarification, Beanard :) Scamming is a common profession in EVE, its just not allowed on Uni or UNi-affiliated characters, as it reflects poorly on the organization.

  4. It does look like it was an impulse grab rather than a planned scam. Alecium still (presumably) had people waiting in the queue for shares and also put in the 100 share limit suggested from the previous thread, both of which probably limited the total possible take by a large amount.

    I guess it's possible that all the alts were throwaway characters, and the scam was just funded by previous scams. It seems she lied about her alts being uni members (I can't find Alecium or Ockham on the alumni list), although Milla Astria did, and hopefully recieved some API checks when she applied.

  5. Ah...I am saddened to find that it's actually a scam. I almost invested in it. As a relatively newer player, 4b is a huge sum...but never enough to consider burning Memoo off the map. When I invest so much time into something, I like to think safeguarding someone's trust is far more important than internet monies.
    Especially when it comes to the scammed a charity corp...full of noobs...and you're proud? :facepalm:

  6. It certainly does seem to be a case of either impulsiveness or impatience. Perhaps the plan had been to carry the scam along for a longer period, building up a larger client base or perhaps it was just a spur of the moment boredom thing. It's funny that even when getting scammed, EVE Uni provides lessons for its students. I'm sure any prospective scammers in the ranks will have been paying this episode a certain amount of attention.
    I'd have to agree with the consensus, as little a rep that Nevore has, and as small an amount of SP, I'd still need a much larger sum to consider trying to scam.

  7. Yeah, it seems rather intensely cheap given the damage it does. As for my own personal limit to become a Judas, I honestly don't know... I honestly think that to really be tempting, at this point, it'd have to be near the current high score set by Bad Bobby.

    Though I finally got into EVE BECAUSE of Bobby's scam, and the sheer possibilities of the world itself, it seems that trying to learn to become a helpful person in what's often a sea of iniquity is more attractive to me.