Laundering Money Online

Gaming the System: Money Laundering Through Online Games
Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies, AML/CTF
Gaming the System: Money Laundering Through Online Games

Swedish police warn gambling under “highest threat”
from money launderin The Swedish police has warned that gambling is at its “highest threat level” of money laundering in the country’s National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing report.
Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing report.

In-game artefacts and currencies often have real-life value and can be used to move or invest criminal proceeds. But there are no clear expectations of what game operators can or should do to identify criminal activity.

Online games – especially massive multiplayer online role-playing games – have long been suspected of offering an avenue for moving or otherwise using criminal proceeds, a process known as money laundering. As early as 2013, cybercrime analyst Jean-Loup Richet wrote, based on his investigation of hacker forums, that ‘using the virtual currency systems in [online] games, criminals in one country can send virtual money to associates in another country’.

A review of cybercriminals’ methods. JeanLoup RichetTools and Resources for Anti-Corruption Knowledge –June, 01, 2013 -United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Money laundering is a critical step in the cyber crime process which is experiencing some changes as hackers and their criminal colleagues continually alter and optimize payment mechanisms. Conducting quantitative research on underground laundering activity poses an inherent challenge: Bad guys and their banks don’t share informationon criminalpursuits. However, by analyzing forums, we have identified twogrowth areasin money laundering:

Online gaming—
Online role playing games provide an easy way for criminals to launder money. This frequently involves the opening of numerous different accounts on various online gamesto move money.

Micro laundering—
Cyber criminals are increasingly looking at micro laundering via sites like PayPal or, interestingly, using job advertising sites, to avoid detection. Moreover, asonline and mobile micro-payment are interconnected with traditional payment services, funds can now be moved to or from a variety of payment methods, increasing the difficultyto apprehend money launderers. Micro laundering makes it possible to launder a large amount of money in small amounts through thousands of electronic transactions. One growing scenario: using virtual credit cards as analternative to prepaid mobile cards; they could be funded with a scammed bank account –with instant transaction –and used as a foundation of a Pay Pal account that would be laundered through a microlaundering scheme….
Laundering Money Online: A review of Cybercriminals’ Methods