Hackers Shakedown Gamers for Gold, Weapons and Armor


Patrick Nepomuceno of California allegedly bought a remote access tool to commandeer the computers of Diablo III videogame players, steal their virtual winnings and trade them for real coin.

He tricked them into downloading the tool, or RAT, by disguising it as a link to a photo, purportedly, of a rare game prize. After the gamers clicked on the link and downloaded the RAT, Nepomuceno gained access to their computer, and was able to take over their online avatar. He would force the player’s character to drop all of the valuable gear and gold the player had collected. Then, an accomplice’s demon hunter avatar, who was hanging out nearby in the game, would swoop in to grab the goods.

The accomplice, Michael Stinger of Maryland, met Nepomuceno through gaming chat platform TeamSpeak. The pair allegedly sold the filched armor and weapons for over $8,000 IRL money.

Diablo III, made by Blizzard Entertainment, was one of the most popular games in 2012. In May of that year, players began complaining on game message boards about their gear and gold being stolen.

Nepomuceno and Stinger allegedly peddled their stolen virtual gains in one of Diablo III’s in-game auction houses, where players could buy and sell virtual goods for cash.