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Don't get scammed

Latest Update (7/23/2011): Made a minor edit on based on [url=http://www.basilmarket.com/user/ShoopDaLolz]ShoopDaLolz's[/url] advice. Additionally, updated the "Zakum Helm Seller Scam" to better reflect updates to Maplestory.

Introduction

Greetings, citizens of Basilmarket! Smartguy11 here again, with the FOURTH version of my scamming prevention guide! This guide was reposted on April 23, 2009, due to a Basilmarket forum glitch that totally screwed over my previous guide. This is kind of ironic, since another Basilmarket forum glitch totally screwed over the version I had posted before that one, back in 2007. And the one before that one, too. Seriously, what the hell, mrbasil.

Scammers: One of low down races of Maplestory. I have been scammed before (several times, unfortunately), and want to prevent YOU from being the next victim. Now, some of you may think that you're just too freaking smart for this guide. If you believe that you're just so freaking smart, please leave. Now, for the rest of you, read on.

Just What is a Scam?

A scam, according to the dictionary, is "a scheme to cheat or defraud of money or property". If someone tricks you into to giving them your money or part of your property, you have been scammed.

However, I would like to emphasize the meaning of the word "cheat" in the dictionary definition. If you cheat someone, you are tricking a person to give you their money without them acknowledging it. You have not been "scammed" just because you dropped an item for fun and then someone came by and picked the item up. The person who picked up the item did not try to convince you to drop the item, nor did you not know that you were going to drop the item. The same thing goes for getting ripped off by a merchant: you AGREED to sell your stuff to the merchant for a ridiculously low price. The merchant wasn't trying to take your item without you acknowledging it. Of course, the merchant was being a jerk for insisting on such a low price, but it was your fault that you agreed to it.

How to Spot a Scammer

There is no definite way to spot a scammer, though you might want to watch out for their:

* Fame
Many scammers have low or negative fame. However, discriminating against every guy you see on the streets with negative fame is a VERY ineffective way to spot a scammer. They may have been mass defamed, buy defames, or just don't give a crap. But if a random person with -12 fame invites you to a drop game, you may want to be careful.
* Level
Would you rather have your level 15 account banned for scamming or your level 160 one? Any human with a shred of common sense would choose the first option. And guess what: scammers are humans too (gasp). So be careful if a level 13 wants you to follow him to the Kerning Hospital because he is "dropping" some "free steelys".

The Amazing Item Copier


Intro
This used to be the most commonly performed scam in Maple. It was also the one that worked the least. Public awareness has increased since then, so this scam has greatly faded in popularity.

The situation
A person you've never seen before requests a trade with you. You accept it. The following conversation:

Random person: Want to copy your best items? There's this new glitch that allows you to!
You: Really? How does it work?
Random Person: All you have to do is put an item into the trade box and press tab+tab+space+enter. Try it! It works with mesos and scrolled items too.
You: Ok!

You put your 30-attack maple claw in the trade box and press tab+tab+space+enter. Suddenly the trade window disappears and another window pops up that says, "Trade successful. Please check results." You check your inventory. No maple claw. You've been had.

How to Prevent This
Luckily, this is one of the easiest scams to prevent. Click the "cancel" button and leave. Or you could mess with the scammer's mind for a few minutes and then cancel. It doesn't matter to me. Just DON'T press tab+tab+space+enter; it's a keyboard shortcut that will cause you to automatically complete the trade, giving your items with the scammer.

Common Variations
Another version of this scam consists of the scammer telling you to press trade but NOT press "yes" on the trade acception window. Instead, they have you type "copy". Do NOT listen. If you do, you will lose the item you put into the trade box. This is because the word "copy" has the letter "y" in it. "Y" stands for "yes", so you will end up accepting the trade. Other words with "y" (Maplestory, etc.) also work. (Credits go to nummynummy and some other random people.)

Drop Game Cheating


Intro
Here's a lesson kids: Drop games are for suckers.

The situation
A person is spamming, "Drop game in the Kerning Hospital! I'm dropping free tobis!" You follow him into the hospital for a chance of free stars. You are the only person the follows him into the hospital. The following:

Person: Ok, You stand next to the big air vent. I'll stand next to this hospital booth. I'm going to drop my tobis. You drop something too. If the item is you drop is worth my than my tobis, you can have them. Got it?
You: Yep.
Person: Ok, ready, set, drop!

The person drops his tobis. You drop a set of steelys. Suddenly, someone you didn't see behind the air pipe (the Kerning Hospital has no mini-map) comes out and picks up your steelys. He then CCs. The person who dropped the tobis CCs too. You've lost your steelys. In other words, you have been had.

How to Prevent This
Like I said in the intro, drop games are for suckers. Try to avoid play them, no matter how "fun" it seems. If you want to compare items, why not use a TRADE WINDOW? If you just "have" to play a drop game, don't drop anything too expensive. Drop a clean WG and claim it's 10 attack or something. How would they find out? Also, make sure you're in a map that doesn't require you to be in a party (so that you can't be kicked out), and has a minimap available (for you to make sure there's no one hiding in an attempt to loot your items).

Common Variations
In another version of this scam, the scammer will ask you to drop your stuff and then press "Alt + F 4", claiming it'll duplicate your item. Do NOT press "Alt + F 4". It will automatically close Maplestory, and the scammer will loot your item. (credit goes to Antony1)

You may also meet drop-game scammers in PQs and mini-dungeons, where the leader can kick you out (ex. Ariant PQ waiting room, Monster Carnival waiting room, all mini-dungeons). The scammer will ask you to play a drop game. Then, once you've dropped your item, he/she will kick you out of the room and loot your item. (credits go to SunPiercer and various others)

The "Best Friend Forever" Scam

Intro
Do you have a friend? I'm sure we all do. But even a friend can stab you in the back.

The Situation
You need to transfer a 72 attack wagner to your mule on another account. Unfortunately, you only have one computer available for use. You need the weapon RIGHT NOW, so you don't have time to send it over Bill. Then suddenly an idea pops from your head: friend transfer. You message your best friend.

You: Hey Rob, I need to give my 72 attack wagner to my mule. Can you hold the wagner for me while I log on to him?
Friend: Sure, meet in the FM.

You think this over. Do you want to trust your wagner with him? Sure, why not. He's been your buddy for nearly a year now and you two have trained together for 50 levels. You meet him in the FM and give him the weapon. You log off and get on your mule. But when you log on, you're friend isn't there. "Oh well," you think to yourself, "I'll ask him tomorrow." But you're friend never logs on again. Hours, weeks, a month passes. You realize that your wagner is gone. You've been had.

How to Prevent This
This is the hardest scam to perform. Only the biggest jerks will attempt this one. Unfortunately, this is also the hardest scam to prevent. One way to stop this from ever happening is to kick everyone out of your buddy list, quit Maple, and hide under a rock. But most of us are probably not going to do that. A more sensible solution to this scam is to transfer in small portions. If you need to transfer 50 mil, give your friend 5 mil at a time. Losing 5 mil to a scammer is better than losing 50. An even better idea would be to avoid friend transfers altogether. If you only have one computer, you can send the stuff over Bill or run two Maplestorys at the same time by using two separate user accounts (this only works on certain computers). If you have two computers, why are you friend transferring stuff anyway?

"The Gold-Digger" Scam

This is similar to the previously mentioned scam, but is based around a different kind of relationship between you and the scammer: marriage.

The Situation
You've been married with a girl for 3 weeks and give her a wedding present: a set of ilbis. Then, the next day, out of the blue, she divorces from you. You're devastated, but become enraged the next week when you realize that she's married another guy. You confront the guy a few weeks later, but he tells you that after taking several mil worth in wedding gifts, divorced from him too. You've been had. This time by a "gold-digger" (a girl character in Maple, usually a guy in irl, who marries and breaks up constantly for wedding gifts).

How to Prevent This
There are several different ways to prevent this from ever happening. The way you choose will depend on who you are and the status of your marriage. If you:

  • Married for fun : Don't pay $30 for a computer marriage! If you're getting married just "for the fun of it", let your partner pay for the wedding. When it's time for wedding gifts, don't give your 50 attack scarab or your godly scrolled kandayo away; give her/him something like a clean maple staff or a 10 DEX sauna.
  • Married your Maple GF : Life's tough, but people double-cross each other a LOT in the internet. It may be time to get a real girlfriend. If you are a die-hard supporter of MS marriage, it's ok. Just be careful; don't trust too much of your stuff with your partner.
  • Married your real GF : Your real girlfriend double-crossed you? It's break-up time!
  • Married for APQ : Make it clear to your partner that you married for APQ only. This way, you won't have to risk anything. If you make sure your partner knows, he/she won't get mad when you don't give them a wedding gift, or that you never talk to them.

The "You Can Trust Me" Scam

Intro
Don't trust people that you've only known for 10 minutes, please.

The Situation
A lvl 33 I/L mage is spamming, "Quitting Maple! Dropping everything I own! Follow me to the Kerning Potion Shop!" You and two other people follow him.

I/L Mage: Ok, here's how it works: You drop something, then I drop something of equal value and you can pick both of them up. It's like a drop game, except you always win.

Person #1 drops a Maple Scorpio. The I/L wizard drops a cromi and Person #1 picks both items. He comes out happy. Person #2 drops a lionheart. The wizard drops him a blue chainmail. He comes out happy. You drop a set of steelys; hoping for an extra-big prize. The I/L mage says, "Sorry, but I don't know anything about thief items L? You get a sap of ancient tree. It's Person #1's turn again. He drops a blood slain.

I/L Mage: I SAID, I don't know anything about thief items. Ok, this is getting dumb.
I/L Mage: Ok, change of rules: To get a good item, you have to actually trade it to me. Then I will retrade you and give you your item and an extra item back. If you've got a lot of trust, you'll get a good prize.

Person #1 seems a bit hesitant, but agrees. Thirty seconds later, he starts jumping around and spamming, "I GOT FREE KUMBIS! I GOT FREE KUMBIS!" Person #2 is also hesitant, but is satisfied in the end. You do not hesitate; you're convinced that this is totally legit. Why wouldn't you be? Two people have already done it and came out happy! Expecting a great prize, you trade the I/L mage your steelys. Suddenly, the I/L mage d/ces. You try tracking him for the rest of the day, but he doesn't log on. It takes you a few hours, but you finally realize you've been had.

How to Prevent This
Trust is overrated. Just because a person has been nice for the last 15 minutes doesn't mean you can trust him with all of your items. This scam might seem like something that could be spotted from a million miles away, but then again, a good portion of Maplestory players are 10-year olds. Just remember: if something is too good to be true, it probably is (I'll be repeating this a few more times throughout this guide). If you're not careful, instincts like trust will clog your senses up until you can't realize the stupidity of a situation. So be careful!

The "Retrade I'm Lagging" Scam

Credits go to boombadaboom (I think)

Intro
If something's too good to be true, it probably is. This is one of the most commonly pulled-off FM scams; I see 2-3 people trying this every day.

The situation
You're in the FM, and you see someone buying steelys for 11 mil. You happen to have a set of steelys in your use inventory. Steelys are worth way less than the price that the person is paying, so you quickly trade him and put up your set.

Random Person: I'll buy your steelys. But hurry up. My dinner is in 5 minutes. In fact, if you speed things up, I'll give you an extra 100k.
You: Ok!

You put your stars up and the random person puts 11,111,111 mesos in to the trade box. It's an awkward number, but you don't have time for questions. The trade button is hit, and then the other guy cancels the trade. You message him and ask him why he did this, and he answered, "Sorry, I'm really laggy in the FM. Retrade?" So you retrade the person, do the same thing all over, and he cancels again. So you keep on trying. Cancel, cancel, cancel. Tired of the person wasting your time, you start clicking the trade icon as fast as you can. Half of the time, you don't even look at the screen! Then, after 5 or so retrades, the "Trade Successful" window finally pops up. You rejoice and check your inventory. But something's wrong. You've barely received 1 mil! Then you realize what happened. In your rush get a trade, the random guy secretly inserted 1,111,111 mesos instead of 11,111,111 mesos in the trade box. You've been had.

How to Prevent This
When FMing, take things slooooow. Rushing will not help you and it'll occasionally hurt you. If someone is in a rush to receive your items, it's ok to speed things up, but watch what you're doing. People don't normally cancel a trade "by accident" five times in a row, or even two times in a row, for that matter. And like what I said in the introduction, if something's too good to be true, it probably is.

Common Variations
In one common variation of this scam, the scammer will use a store instead of a trade window, giving you the excuse that "the tax will be lower". It always ends the same way: after a mad clicking rush, you get ripped and the scammer gets rich. Note: Some legit traders actually trade like this, so this variation doesn't always turn out to be a scam.

The scam can also be done in reverse. The scammer is selling a scrolled weapon or a scroll for a super low price. You trade him, and after several retrades, you finally get the item. However, instead of getting a Claw Attack 60% scroll, you get a Pet Speed 60% scroll! Always check the item you're buying before trading, especially when you're buying scrolls and clean equips. At first glance, all scrolls look alike, and there's no difference between a clean equip and one with 0 slots. This variation of the "Retrade" scam is relatively easy to pull off, so it may actually be more common than the regular version! (Credits go to Nonexistent)

" The Buy High Sell Higher" Scam

Intro
Just like the previously described scam, this scam also happens in the FM. And once again, if it's too good to be true, it probably is (some people just never learn). Luckily, this scam is not nearly as common.

The Situation
You need a new pair of work gloves, so you take with yourself 4 mil and walk to the FM. While passing through, you notice a guy spamming, "B>CLEAN RED HEART EARRINGS 2 MIL!". You think to yourself, "2 mil? What a great deal!" Too bad you don't have any red heart earrings. You keep on walking. Suddenly, you see another person spamming, "S> CLEAN RED HEART EARRINGS 1.5 MIL!" You remember the guy you saw earlier, and automatically trade the person selling the earrings. The person accepts the trade, puts in the heart earrings, and then you pay him. The trade is successful and you walk over to the other side where you last saw the guy buying red hearts. But he's gone. You've been had (either that or you're really unlucky).

How to Prevent This
Man, this is getting really tiring. If it's too good to be true, IT PROBABLY IS. Geez. And that's pretty much all you need to know to prevent yourself from being screwed by this scam.

The "Account Giveaway Sweepstakes" Scam


Intro
See all those "giving away account" threads over there in the General Maplestory section? Many of them aren't as innocent as they seem'

The Situation
You're browsing through the General MS section. You see a thread titled "I'm Quitting MapleStory". You decided to check it out. It turns out to become sob story about how the TS's friends have quit' blah blah blah' how the MS community sucks'. blah blah blah' how he's giving his level 90 crusader away to random poster . Your eyes spring at those words. You could totally use a level 90 crusader! So you post on the thread. A day later, you receive a PM from the TS. He gives you his account's username, passwords, and PIN. You log on immediately. The account's been stripped, but you don't really care. Of course, you realize that the account could easily be hacked. So you limit funds flowing into the account for several weeks. Six weeks later' nothing's happened. You're pretty sure it's all clear, so you start funding the account. To start it up, you buy a 105 ATK Devil's Sunrise. A week later, you get your crusader a 2 ATK 10 STR PAC. By the end of the month, you've even gotten a Z-helm. The next day, you turn on Maplestory and type in your account's info. It doesn't work. After 5 tries, it still doesn't work. You realize that the person who "gave" you the account was simply working a scam. You've been hacked; the password's been changed. 110 mil down the drain.

How to Prevent This
People rarely ever give their accounts away to random players for "free". I mean, if you're not getting paid, who would you rather give your account to: a close friend or some random Basiler you've never met in real life? I thought so. If someone DOES offer you an account, don't accept it UNLESS they give you the account's email, email password, and answers to Secret Question #1 and #2 along with the basic info. This way, you can change the account's password and recover the pin in case you need to.

The "Zakum Helm Seller" Scam


The Intro
This scam has become a lot less common since Karma Scissors were released. But if you're kind of a cheapskate and you don't want to pay for Karma Scissors, then pay attention to this!

The Situation
You're level 50, and you want a Zakum Helm. But you've only got 40 million mesos. Wait! You could pay a guild to go on a Zakum run with them. That way, you won't have to pay for Karma Scissors. So you go to the FM, and you come across a level 100 guy spamming, "S>Zhelm run 40 mil REG!@@@@" Realizing this could be your chance, you trade the guy, and a conversation ensues.

You: Hi, I'd like to buy a Zakum Helm from you.
Level 100 guy: Sure. My guild will do the run tomorrow at 5:30 PM (PST) at Channel 3. Make sure you complete all the Zakum quests, bring at least 200 Melted Cheeses, and have at least 2100 HP (we provide free HP equips).
You: Ok, when do I pay?
Level 100 guy: I need half up right now, but you can pay the 2nd half after you receive the helm.
You: Here's the money. I'll meet you tomorrow! *gives the guy 20 mil*

The next day, you go finish all the Zakum quests, buy 250 Melted Cheeses, and head to the Zakum Altar right on time. But the level 100 guy isn't there. You wait 30 more minutes. He still isn't there. You try messaging him. He doesn't answer. He never answers. You've been had.

How to Prevent This
The best solution is to buy a Zakum Helm that has Scissors of Karma used on it, either from Basilmarket or from a store (people rarely spam sell items with Scissors of Karma).

If you want to go on a run (which is cheaper than buying a Zakum Helm with Scissors of Karma), only buy a Zakum Helm from trusted sellers; they will never double-cross you. You can usually find out who is trusted on the world forums of Sleepywood. NEVER buy from someone you aren't 100% sure about. In fact, don't give your money to ANYBODY unless you're absolutely positive that you're paying the leader of the run, who is the only person that should be collecting payments.

In case you need any more help, here's one easy way to spot a Zhelm scammer: the "seller" asks you for only half up front. (Official sellers ask for the entire payment.)

Common Variations
In another version of this scam, the scammer is selling the Zakum Helm directly in the FM. However, when you trade him, he'll ask you to gift him Scissors of Karma so that he can trade you the Zakum Helm. But once he gets the Scissors, he'll disappear into the mist, causing you to lose 3k NX. To prevent this from happening, only buy untradeable items that ALREADY have Scissor of Karma used on them; the gift option should only be used on friends and people you can trust!

The "S>Leech!" Scam

Credits go to Hakizo and koondoog

Intro
Since the introduction of 4th job and (more recently) almost-affordable mastery books, leeching has become extremely popular in Maplestory. That means leech scamming has also become extremely popular. This scam is similar to the Zakum Helm Seller scam; both involve an untradeable item/service being sold by a scammer.

The Situation
You're walking past Leafre in Channel 1, and you see a level 150 Bishop selling leech at half the price of everyone else in the town. You haven't tried leeching before, but it sounds really good and you can easily afford a couple of hours with this bishop's rate. So you trade him.

You: Hi, I'd like to buy leech for 4 hours at Skelegons, please.
Bishop: That'll be 20 mil. You can just pay me half right now. Just pay me the second half after we're done.
You: Sounds good.
Bishop: Ok, add me to your buddy list. I can start right now if you want.
You: That would be great. Let's go.

You trade him your 10 mil, add the bishop to your buddy list, and walk over to Skelegons. But when you check your buddy list, you find out he has rejected your invite. When you message him, he blocks whispers. After a couple of hours, you realize he isn't going to show up. You've been had.

How to Prevent This
Buy leech from people who probably won't scam you. For example, leeching off of a friend in real life who has a bishop is better than paying some random guy in Leafre. If you don't know anyone on Maplestory in real life, then you can try leeching off of in-game friends, or in some cases, friends of in-game friends. Leeching off of people in your guild is a good option too, especially if you're in a major guild that has a reputation for trustworthiness.

If none of these are options, then try to find a person on an internet forum. People selling leech often have threads and Basilmarket listings with comments on their trustworthiness, though comments can always be misleading. Still, it's better than having no verification at all.

Common Variations
The scammer doesn't always leave the second you pay him part of his fee. Often, they stick around and actually leech you for a while, to gain your trust. Then, once you've decided to trust him and pay the full fee, he'll skip town. Moral of the story: Avoid trusting random people on the internet.

The "S>2x Exp" Scam

Credits go to IRichHsieh and MrTutty

Intro
The Family system allows users without NX to, in a sense, get free 2x exp. Of course, this is just screaming for abuse. This scam, like the previous two, involves the sale of a untradeable item/service. Are you seeing a trend here?

The Situation
A random person in the FM is spamming "S>Party 2x EXP!". You've want to train on 2x exp, but no NX, so you trade the person.

You: How much?
Person: 2 mil. It lasts 30 minutes.

You decide that 2 mil is a pretty reasonable price, since 2x exp would double your training rate. So you accept and give the person your money. Once the conditions are set and the trade is complete, you send him a party invite. However, he rejects it and logs off. You've been had.

How to Prevent This
Don't buy untradeable things from people you can't trust! As you can tell from the previous two scams, giving a random person your money is a definite no-no. Instead, try buying 2x exp from a friend of a trusted guildmate. Or, you can get some juniors for your family to harvest rep for yourself and get some FREE 2x exp.

The "I'm Your Friend" Scam

This section was written by KoLIdiot

Intro: So a noob crosses your path asking for stuff

The situation: A low level character crosses your path. Then he "recognizes" you and says "Hey, remember me? I'm Rick, your maple friend who quit a couple months ago!" And you remember him. You start talking and then "Rick" tells you that he gave away his stuff and needs a startup. You, being a generous guy, give him a load of mesos, believing that he will return it all one day. You buddy each other and the low level character logs off. Then you never see him again. It takes you a while to realize that you've been had.

The solution: Don't be eager to trust somebody. Make sure your friends can all prove who they are, for example, tell your friends that if they every come back to be prepared to answer a special question. Just make sure that the person behind the character is genuine.

Expensive Auto Buy Scam (Maya made this name up)

This section was written by Maya

Intro
This is why you don't carry all your mesos with you. Ahem. Storage.

The Situation
You see a smega saying that there's a ton of great items for 300 meso each at a guy's store. You CC and go to the FM and see a crowd of people trying to get in one store. The store says to keep clicking and pressing enter on the shop, and you really want to get in so you do what it says. It's full, so you wait and wait. Eventually, you get in, you saw the box pop up and you pressed enter so you've bought something. You get out of the shop and find 20 mill mesos gone and a wooden wand in your inventory. You've been had

How to Prevent This
Don't listen to those naughty smegas. End of story. You can stop this by waiting around at the spot of the scene and looking to see what people are saying. Once you see a spot open in the store, go in by clicking on it a couple of times, but not enough to buy something and check what was sold first and take your time and study the item first. Of course, if it's something like a level 40 wand that you need for cheap, buy it.

The Half Now Half Later NX Scam

This section was written by Celiax3.

Intro: So you need NX really badly, either for 2x, a hair change, or to revive your pet. Your parents don't let you buy NX or you can't get NX until your birthday, or whenever you get more money. And none of your friends have NX, or they won't sell it because they need it. And at this point, you are really desperate to buy some. And so you end up walking to the FM to get some.

The Situation: When you go to the crowded Ch1 FM, you see a few people spamming "S> NX @@@@@@@@". You trade one guy and conversation would go along the lines:
You: How much do you sell NX?
NX Guy: 1k = 1m.
You: Can you gift me EXP Hair Coupon for Ludi?
NX Guy: Sure. That would be 2.1k nx, so 2m. But you can pay 1m now, and 1m after you get it.
You: Okay, ty so much! -puts in 1m-
NX Guy: Okay, stay here.

You patiently wait while thinking "YES I CAN FINALLY GET RID OF THIS UGLY HAIR LOL". After a while, you track him. It says 'NX Guy' is in the Cash Shop. So you wait and wait. And after around 3-7 minutes, you track him again, and it says 'NX Guy' is currently at 'Channel-6'. You think 'WTF?' and stalk him. He will know you are stalking him, so he will constantly cc. At one point, he will log off.

How to Prevent This: Don't trust anyone selling NX in the FM. Trust a few friends, but not all of them, because I had a certain "friend" tell me he would sell me NX and I trusted him so much that he scammed me. And even after stalking the person, there is really nothing you can do about it. It would be worse for people who are buying more expensive stuff than a hair change. Also, don't trust the "S> NX FOR HALF PRICE" sellers. That's obviously fake. And if someone finds one who does not scam, kudos to you. :]

A Basic Overview

A lot of the scams that I just mentioned SEEM very easy to spy and prevent. But this is because the style of writing I used in "The Situation" was stuck to the fact that "that random guy" was always the scammer. Most random guys aren't scammers, and scams are actually really hard to detect. So don't make smart remarks like, "Omg I'm so pro there's no way I can get scammed because I have so much common sense and pro-ness and blah blah blah." ...Well, happy Mapling!

Constructive Criticism

If you don't like this guide give me some suggestions.

Legal Crap and Stuff

Don't copy this without giving me credit. It's that simple.