Police arrested a Dutch 17-year old and questioned five other 15-year-olds for the alleged theft of over $5,000 worth of furniture from Habbo Hotel, a virtual hangout with more than 6 million visitors from 30 countries. "The six teenagers are suspected of moving the stolen furniture into their own Habbo rooms," says the BBC story. Reality just got bent.
Like in many virtual worlds, Habbo Hotel lets you buy furniture to deck out your pad. The kids apparently perpetrated the theft through a phishing scam: by creating websites that mimic the Habbo login, they could trick the victims into unknowingly surrendering login IDs and passwords. The crooks could presumably just swing by their room and transfer whatever they wanted to their own accounts. Says a spokesman for Sulake, Habbo Hotel's operator:
"It is a theft because the furniture is paid for with real money. But the only way to be a thief in Habbo is to get people's usernames and passwords and then log in and take the furniture."
Of course, you know what we're thinking: anyone gullible enough to spend thousands on virtual furniture might be a prime target for trickery. I mean, not to get off on a rant, but when you think about it, who stole whose money in the first place? [BBC News]