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Real Police Investigate Theft of Virtual Furniture at Habbo Hotel

police investigate habbo theft
The online virtual world of Habbo Hotel, at first glance, seems like just another idyllic, peaceful, fake community, where fake people exchange goods with a fake handshake and a fake smile, and decorate their fake residences with fake furniture. Basically, it's Orange County. But beneath the placid, Norman Rockwell veneer of non-existence lies an all too real underbelly of crime, deception and theft. The issue is so bad, apparently, that residents have been forced to actually leave their computers, and call the police.

As the BBC reports, Finnish police are currently investigating up to 400 cases of alleged virtual theft, and have already conducted searches in (real-life) homes throughout five different (real-life) cities in the (real-life) Scandinavian country. According to Detective Sergeant Marko Levonen, the investigation got underway earlier this year when several guests noticed that some of their make-believe belongings were missing from their make-believe living rooms. With the make-believe Habbo Hotel police station presumably closed for the holidays, the victims bit the bullet and sought help from the real police. Not long afterward, the Finnish company Sulake, which manages Habbo Hotel, identified hundreds of other users who had been similarly victimized. As Levonen told the BBC, his team is pretty sure that this recent wave of geek-on-geek warfare can be chalked up to another phishing attack, similar to others that have ravaged gated virtual communities around the world.

Forcing Finnish police to take time from fighting crime on the hard streets of Helsinki in order to pursue a bunch of stolen virtual goods might seem ridiculous, but keep in mind, this is still real money that people have lost. In fact, police authorities say that some individuals have lost up to $1,220 worth of two-dimensional commodities. Sure, it seems bizarre for someone to invest so much money in a fantasy world, but then again, when was the last time you actually touched any shares of stock you bought during online day trading? We'll probably never fully comprehend why anyone would choose to spend so much time in a virtual existence. But we definitely understand the value of a dollar, even if it goes toward buying the most nonsensical of products.[From: BBC]

Tags: crime, finland, furniture, HabboHotel, law, phishing, police, socialnetworking, theft, top, virtual-worlds, virtualcrime, virtualworlds