Woman loses $400 in FarmVille phishing scam, blames Zynga

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In another news case taken entirely out of proportion, a Pittsburgh woman was scammed for $400 while playing FarmVille, and is blaming Zynga and Facebook for the withdrawals. Pittsburgh's WTAE news network has reported on a woman who was playing FarmVille on Facebook when she got an instant message from someone she had apparently friend-ed to play the game with. This message contained a link. Without thinking, the woman clicked the link and in an instant gave all of her credit card information to this stranger.

While we don't know the exact manner in which the scammer retrieved her personal information, it's likely that she might have saved her credit card information on Facebook proper, and the link activated a phishing application created to steal users' information. Either that, or she foolishly gave her information over herself, thinking she was speaking to Facebook or Zynga - that particular detail wasn't revealed.

What's more concerning here though is how the woman has responded, by seemingly blaming Zynga and Facebook and expecting them to return the money. Zynga is reportedly investigating the situation, but as they weren't the source of the scam, it's unlikely that this will result in a positive outcome. Facebook itself hasn't responded.
While this is an unfortunate situation, it reminds us all of internet safety. Even if you routinely purchase items in Facebook games, it's never a smart idea to save your information on the "cloud," and you should never click links in IMs from people you don't know. That last bit doesn't just concern Facebook - it's sound advice for all of your internet activities.

As for WTAE's news story? "Just by playing a game somebody can drain your bank account and put you in the hole," is a quote that particularly stands out, as being entirely wrong. Facebook games are harmless in a financial sense, so long as you play responsibly and keep the old adage "don't talk to strangers" at the forefront of your mind. Members of Zynga and Facebook won't IM you asking for information, so you shouldn't give it to them - it's as simple as that.

Has anyone you know fallen victim to a FarmVille scam that had real-world effects? Do you think Zynga or Facebook are responsible and should compensate this player's funds? Sound off in the comments.
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