Six million people in over 30 countries play the 3D social networking website Habbo Hotel each month. Habbo users can create their own characters, decorate their own rooms and play a number of games, paying with Habbo Credits, which they have to buy with real money. It’s always been reported that “in Habbo, as in many other virtual worlds, scamming for other people’s personal information such as user names has been problematic for quite a while.”
Last week a Dutch teenager was arrested by police for stealing virtual furniture from rooms in Habbo Hotel. The 17-year-old is accused of stealing €4,000 ($5,936 / £2,875) worth of virtual furniture, bought with real money. Five 15-year-olds have also been questioned by police, who were contacted by the website’s owners. The six teenagers are suspected of moving the stolen furniture into their own Habbo rooms.
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A representative from the Amsterdam police department said: “We are trying to bring charges of theft. It is a little difficult and new. There has not yet been a judgment in a case like this. The furniture may not be physical objects but because it represents a certain value we think theft is involved.”
A spokesman for Sulake, the company that operates Habbo Hotel, said: “The accused lured victims into handing over their Habbo passwords by creating fake Habbo websites. We have had much of this scamming going on in many countries but this is the first case where the police have taken legal action. It is a theft because the furniture is paid for with real money. But the only way to be a thief in Habbo is to get people’s usernames and passwords and then log in and take the furniture. We got involved because of an increasing number of sites which are pretending to be Habbo. People might then try and log in and get their details stolen.”
Let’s hope this is the first of many cases where scammers get busted and jailed, so that this crime of virtual property theft can be outcast or at least prosecuted more easily in worldwide courts of law.
The following “Habbo Hotel Safety Movie” was made by Habbo’s who got scammed and wanted to warn others how to prevent it from happening.
A simpler way to put it would be: Don’t ever give anyone your password! Or private information for that matter, and only trust the official website you typed out into your browser window.