Firstly, I would like to say that this is my first post here, after lurking for these past few weeks. I just thought this situation was more serious than many would think.
I know a true goblin may not have fallen prey to a scam as easily as I did, but as a player who has made 600k in the past three weeks with a 2k startup solely off investing, I'm pretty disappointed that I did.
The situation was: there was a level 1 selling a swift spectral tiger for 240k, which by itself, is an amazing deal. I was on a server that I didn't play on, yet still had 170k liquid there. Therefore, because I wanted to be able to move my money to my main server, I offered to pay 160k and a darkmoon rabbit pet for his tiger. After a moment of silence, he agrees. But he tells me he needs me to fly him to Booty Bay. Mistake 1: I did.
Why is this such a shady deal even from this initial point? Because it shows that he does not currently have the tiger, and that a code transaction must take place. But I, being naive and thinking that people innately have a disposition towards "good," while also needing to get rid of my money, agreed to fly him to Booty Bay.
Then, he says that according to his "boss," I must give half my gold as an upfront payment, and conversely I get half of the loot code. Given that this person's grammar wasn't impeccable by any standard, but sounded like he was part of an organization (talking about his employer, "boss"), I assumed that this person was working a large scale TCG operation, where the positive economies of scale allowed him to sell at very cheap. In my defense, I have dealt with people like this, and they are invariably Chinese, which is not a problem. However, since I have reliably bought from these Chinese before for items such as blood spirits and living steel, I assumed that they were trustworthy to a certain extent. Obvious Mistake Number 2.
Now, I'm no stranger to scams, but personally, I've never dealt with the 1/2 up front, 1/2 on delivery method, so I thought it was legitimate. Granted, I had faith in Blizzard to be able to return to me the money and ban the player if he was indeed a scammer, so I went ahead with the transaction. However, the twist was, that he wanted the 2nd half of my gold (80k) before giving me the rest of the code, which was very odd. However my faith in Blizzard let me go through with it. Why not? At most I was only going to waste an hour of my time, right?
Well, actually, I don't know. I have ticketed Blizzard after this guy left me with a fake code and empty pockets, but there has been no response so far. I'm skeptical of the great GM's powers because this guy, as I later predicted, went straight to the auction house and bought out all of the blood spirits in circulation. He then deleted his account after doing whatever he did (sending to other characters, transferring, and so on). This, I felt, would conceal his paths and would make it tough to track him down. In addition, I don't know if auction house deals can be reverted, even in a scamming situation.
Even if one is naive and stupid, they should have recognized this: He was selling a swift spectral tiger, but the loot code technically gives two mounts. Why would he entrust me to give one back? That should have been the final red card, but the myriad of pressuring circumstances pushed details like this into the back of my head. Maybe he forgot that you get two mounts? Maybe he's only doing this half-and-half deal because his boss said so and that it's company policy? Well, no. My romantic scenario of me getting the mount for dirt cheap was stepped on. I hope that Blizzard is able to retrieve what I have lost, but I fully understand if they cannot, especially since this mistake was entirely based on my stupidity.
Later, I saw this guy posting on the opposite faction, trying to lure others into falling into my trap. I luckily told trade before anyone bit, albeit getting trolled like always for QQ'ing, but hopefully I stopped some other poor guy from losing all of his investments.
Forum readers: Let me be an example to you all. This happens hundreds of times a week. There are companies built on malpractice such as this. Beware, and have a nice day.
TL;DR (hopefully you do read it): Do not ever buy TCG items without getting the item at the same time that you pay. You will rue the day.