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back to article WoW gold farmer throws sueball over real world gold theft

A World of Warcraft (WoW) gold farmer has landed in an Australian court in an attempt to win compensation for the loss of real world gold. Kristina Fincham's tale is an odd one. The 45 year old Adelaide woman hit on gold farming, the practice of accumulating virtual goods and currency in the game, and then selling it to other …

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Anonymous Coward

Hahaha! Online gamers are sooo stupid.

*goes back to playing Arcane Legends...*

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Anonymous Coward

Very tenuous link to tech, this is about burglary at a Gamers house.

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That's probably why it's in the games section.

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Coat

The news angle is that a WoW Gamer actually left the house and went on holiday.

"I went outside once, the graphics were nice, but, the gameplay was awful"

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Thumb Up

those who rubbish WoW as a way to acquire life skills have another piece of evidence they can trot out when tut-tutting about the game

"Now listen son. You should never, repeat never, play MMORPGs because if you do you might end up earning seventy-five grand in real money."

Is that supposed to be evidence against playing an MMORPG?

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Re: you might end up earning seventy-five grand in real money

I bet the Australian tax authorities are taking an interest in this one...

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Meh

Wouldn't that be...

*EX* boy friend, in these circumstances?

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2000 AUS$ a day ???

I'm in the wrong business. WHO did you say was the gold digger ?

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The insurance company could probably have another cause for refusing to pay out - trading virtual WOW items/gold for real life money is against the T&Cs for WOW

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Angel

spoken like a lawyer

And not a good lawyer either. Where the gold came from is not important.

I know you think it's the insurances companies job to look for an excuse not to pay. You're wrong, but even if you're right, they should try harder. This is not even a glimmer of an excuse.

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WTF?

What the hell has WOW terms and conditions got to do with an insurance claim ovef theft of a physical item from a persons home? Really don't see the relevance here, ok if her virtual gold was stolen from some exchange or similar then it could possibly be.

If you think insurers should be enforcing EULA's or at least reviewing them when handling claims for gods sake shut up and dont give them ideas.

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Facepalm

@Corinne

The insurance company could probably have another cause for refusing to pay out - trading virtual WOW items/gold for real life money is against the T&Cs for WOW

I think that violating WoW T&Cs are the least of her worries.

If she hasn't declared the $75k to the tax authorities yet, she'll need to soon.

I don't think the taxman would go for the "Sorry I can't pay you what I owe. My gold bullion was stolen..."

Maybe she'll learn a valuable lesson - keep your gold in a bank vault, not in your house.

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Re: spoken like a lawyer

"... the insurances companies job to look for an excuse not to pay...."

Contents policies invariably have a clauses indicating that the insurance company must be informed of any items whose individual values exceed some specified limit and of any amounts of cash or similar over some arbitrary limit. They may also be unwilling to pay out for what they see as an inside job, because of the (ex)boyfriend's involvement.

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Not understanding what the problem is here... she had gold bullion (physical item) in her house, which was stolen.

Unless there was some exclusion in the policy against gold bullion, I can't see that they have much of a leg to stand on... it wasn't obtained illegally as such... are they claiming the gold was proceeds from a crime? If so, what crime, actually, was committed? Seems to me that the worst that could be claimed was breach of contract (her with Blizzard) which in any case is neither a criminal matter nor anything the hell to do with the insurer refusing to pay out for the gold bullion.

What I could imagine, though, is that the gold bullion was worth more than what she had insured and that she wasn't going to get the full value back...

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From what I understand from the article, the problem is that the thieves were tipped off by the boyfriend. As such (in the same way as self inflicted arson isn't covered) the insurance company is claiming that she knew of the theft before hand and is trying insurance fraud - where she ends up with more than she started with because she gets the original gold back.

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Big Brother

death and taxes

most insurance policies have a "Single item" limit....mine is £3000 so any item above that limit you have to tell the insurance company and register the item with them. so i suspect she didn't register the gold with the insurance company who no doubt would have said "put it in a bank safe"...and a bank would have to tell the tax office due to the high value...money laundering rules etc. So no doubt she kept it out of the bank to stop paying tax on as capital gain. Hence keeping it at home and therefore wasn't covered by the policy.

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Re: death and taxes

"i suspect she didn't register the gold with the insurance company"

"Hence keeping it at home and therefore wasn't covered by the policy."

The article makes it pretty clear. It's not about whether or not the gold was registered. The insurers suspect she was in on the theft, and is trying to fraudulently claim. That's the reason they don't want to pay out, and the reason she is taking them to court.

Plus, if she had smaller bullion (25, 50 or 100 grams), each piece may well be worth less than the single item value limit on the insurance policy.

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Re: death and taxes

Which begs some questions:

1) why buy bullion? Why not put it in a bank, she's below the insurable limit. Or if she wants a commodity backed thing, buy a derivative which can't be fenced

2) Why put it in her own safe? With that much banks offer a pretty good and secure safety deposit box scheme which would be well protected and insured

3) Unless the safe was cut open, why tell her boyfriend the combination?

I realise the case is between her and the insurer, but she could equally well go after her (I assume ex) boyfriend and his cronies to recover the amount, if he has the funds to cough up.

The fear of the insurance company is partly "your boyfriend has hidden the gold. You'll get an insurance cheque, and then the gold back too."

The insurers are saying something like "you voided your policy by either conspiring in the theft or by being an idiot and telling nefarious characters how to access it, thereby not taking sufficient care."

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Re: death and taxes

I wouldimagine it would have been in small coins, AU$75,000 is only about 50 krugerands (or other gold coins, mostly about the same value) - it would fit in one of those plastic change bags you get from the bank - which raises the question of why she didn't just hide it under floorboards instead.....

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Re: death and taxes

Insurance Companies NEVER want to pay out. Not if they don't have to.

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Re: death and taxes

@YAC:

1) Derivatives have their own risks. With derivatives not backed by physical assets, it is basically a loan to the bank, and if the bank goes bust you lose the lot. Even with a physically-backed derivative where the bank has gold in a vault to support the derivative, you are still relying on the fact that the bank has enough gold for everyone if they go tits-up.

Obviously keeping it in your home has its own risks, but it's a perfectly reasonable preference.

2) I'm guessing she was too cheap. But then again, if it's insured, what's the difference (assuming you eventually get the insurer to pay out)? Apart from the risk of armed robbery.

3) She was in love? I know, some people eh.

"I realise the case is between her and the insurer, but she could equally well go after her (I assume ex) boyfriend and his cronies to recover the amount, if he has the funds to cough up."

That's not her job. She paid premiums to an insurer, and that makes recovering the money from the criminal their problem.

But yes, I understand why the insurer thinks she might have been in on it. That's why we have courts, to prove it one way or the other.

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Re: death and taxes

I keep all my gold bullion at home, I use it to weigh down my bag of diamonds. I keep it all inside a piece I bought from Bodies: The Exhibition while the show was in Tampa, Florida.

The bullion and diamonds aren't insurable, even inside my fortress, but the art is so I put It all together and raised the insured value of the piece.

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Usually you need to pay extra to cover things like cash and jewelery. Gold bars would come under that section.

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capital gains

kevin, wouldn’t she have faced the possibility of taxable capital gains only when she sold or bartered her gold? Or is this an example of multiple nations being divided by a common language?

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@kevin king

I agree with everything you said, except the part about the bank having to tell the tax office. Maybe safe deposit boxes work differently where you live, but in the US the bank explicitly does NOT know what you have in your box. I could have the Hope Diamond in mine, and the bank (or IRS) will never know.

The way the IRS usually finds out about undeclared income is when it is spent. If you make a bunch of undeclared income but live within the means of your declared income, the IRS will be none the wiser if you stuck your ill gotten gains in a safe deposit box. Of course, if you don't have a use for that money, why bother earning it and always have to look over your shoulder wondering if the tax man will come knocking on your door and make your life hell?

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Re: death and taxes

Yeah all those companies that paid out when they didn't have to went out of business.

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Reading between the lines, it sounds as if the police thinks that it's an insurance scam, that she was complicit in its theft.

Reading even further between the lines one may wonder why she kept so much gold at home - that kind of thing has a tendency to be attempts at hiding incomes from the taxman.

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Payment in kind

Maybe they should send her an image of gold coins as its all about virtual money

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Re: Payment in kind

Guess who didn't read the article ^^^^

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Bullion? At home in a safe?

At the risk of being judgemental my money is that she's registered unemployed/disabled and doesn't want to declare any of that gold farming income to the authorities.

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Sounds

like a typical insurance co

Liek the one that refused to pay out on a theft because there were bad locks on the backdoor, the fact the scummy theives kicked in the front door did'nt worry them...

'Ahh yes Mr Cockroach, you've taken out our special "no claims" insurance, this means that any claim made by you will not be paid out by us'

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Blizzard

Wonder if Blizzard will sue her for her gold for selling their virtual gold.

It is against the terms and conditions of the game.

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Good!

She earned that kind of money by manipulating the in game auction house. You purchase items at normal prices then jack up them way up. About the only way you can get anything decent is to purchase gold. For people like myself who play legitimately, using the auction house is difficult. So I have very little sympathy for her.

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Date of loss and some other thoughts

Was in 2008, so looks like one of those drawn out arguments. Or perhaps she saw an advert on TV for Lawyers4U or some such.

Some interesting lines in the news article.

"She was working in the day as a nurse (and) from midnight to 4am trading online,"

"She made a lot of cash from this internet trading (but) found cheques and money orders extremely inconvenient ... she would ask for cash through the mail."

"in March 2008, Ms Fincham took a week-long trip to Queensland with a man she had met through the internet. While they were away, her house was robbed three times and all her possessions were taken - including the wall safe containing the gold bars"

""Her customers were frightened away because they were being chased by insurance investigators and her business has failed,"

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Top tips

Have bullion? Here's two top tips to prevent pain like this:

1) Inform your insurer and make sure it's covered; or

2) Use a feckin' bank vault! (Recommended)

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Angel

Banks these days . . .

I used to ridicule people who don't trust banks and keep their money under the mattress.

But lately, I'm starting to see their point of view.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Banks these days . . .

Banks have become dodgy in the EU and USA since the bankers declared in October 2012 all deposits belong to the bank first -- and the depositors second.

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Reminds me of when the Sultan of Bruneis house in London was burglared...

...the burglars made off with suitcases stuffed with - literally - as much gemstones they were able to carry, and the Sultan didn't notice anything was missing until two months after the theft. Hey, 70 kilos of precious gems more or less, who can tell.

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