In Australia, virtual worlds like World of Warcraft and Farmville are apparently being used for money laundering. The police in the Australian New South Wales have observed a new trend; money and other, shall we say, irregular income can be used to purchase virtual items in these game worlds and be re-sold to launder the money The Sydney Morning Herald says that the Police of New South Wales are on to this new venue for gangsters.
During an address to the Cards and Payments Australasia Conference in Sydney, Dyson added that crooks will increasingly use online worlds to communicate with each other and to move large sums of money. He would not elaborate on the exact details, as not to reveal a step-by-step guide to make it even easier for active offenders.
The High Tech Crime Center at The Australian Federal Police, was a little more concrete. They said a typical approach is to buy large amounts of game currency and rare items in World of Warcraft in order to then sell them off again. Compared to the traditional money laundering operations such as casinos, race tracks or by way of tax havens, this new method makes up a tiny fraction of the transactions, but the phenomenon seems to be growing.