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RE: Scammers - An open letter to Frank D. Gibeau, CEO Zynga Inc.

linkshighlightslinkshighlights Posts: 1,319Registered User, Facebook Connect User Cream Corn Champion
edited March 29 in Feedback & Suggestions

In case you haven't heard, you have a very serious problem going on in Words With Friends and carried over to Words With Friends2. This probably exists on any other app your company supports or has produced which allows chat to take place between opponents. There are people who try to befriend complete strangers, slowly build their trust, and when they decide the time is right they try to take advantage of their unsuspecting "friends".

Here are just a few examples. Take a minute to read all of them. It will make you sick to your stomach how commonly this is reported.

http://zyngaplayerforums.com/wordswithfriends/discussion/3162056/how-do-i-report-scammers-invading-wwf/p1

http://zyngaplayerforums.com/wordswithfriends/discussion/3162166/military-romance-scam-a-word-of-caution/p1

http://zyngaplayerforums.com/wordswithfriends/discussion/comment/16013039

http://zyngaplayerforums.com/wordswithfriends/discussion/3162711/scammer-on-words-with-friends

http://zyngaplayerforums.com/wordswithfriends/discussion/3162961/scammer-rylan-brat

http://zyngaplayerforums.com/wordswithfriends/discussion/3162862/scammers-on-wwf

http://zyngaplayerforums.com/wordswithfriends/discussion/3094466/fake-profiles-models-catfishing

As you can see there are a frighting number of reports on this forum. Most center around the same exact 3 stories. Surprisingly only 1 of them has been reported by the media.

http://www.thisweeknews.com/news/20171219/grove-city-woman-reports-funds-lost-in-customs-scams

Left unchecked, this is the kind of scandal that can explode into very bad publicity for you and your company. So far the Moderators of this forum only suggest two things. 1. The victim should block the person and 2. report their username via email to [email protected] The problem is, even if your Support Team deletes the account, the perpetrator can always create a new username and resume the harassment on their next victim.

My suggestion is threefold. First you take a very proactive step and acknowledge the problem exists. Send a message to all Zynga users describing these scams. This can be done with a push notification or email which we all receive when you are advertising a new gimmick. Advise people to never give personal information let alone money to people they only know via your games. Second have your Development Team work on a better solution than blocking the offender. They need to be able to ban their IP address or their phone number or something!! Something so that person cannot just create a new username and continue their scam. Lastly set up a sting of some kind. Have your employees setup fake accounts and invite these criminals to a game. When they start asking for money, get the address or accounts they want money sent to and turn it over to the authorities. Prosecute them to the fullest and make sure THAT story is covered by the media. Not only does that put the bad guy behind bars, it sends a message to others considering doing this that it's not worth the risk, and it's great publicity for your company. You end up looking like a hero instead of a goat.

Clearly this situation is currently out of control. It's getting worse every day and the reports are coming in more frequently. Many report they are approached DAILY. Can you imagine? They just want to play and have fun but instead they are constantly harassed. Taking proactive initiatives will offer much better press than continuing to pretend the problems don't exist.

Attn: @PixiePower @Sofia Allianah @my sweet innamorata @w0rd_midas @Piers_Fiddler @blissful_star

Comments

  • juliea630juliea630 Posts: 6Registered User, Facebook Connect User Loose Cannon
    I get at least 10 of these a week
  • CbadlandCbadland Not a Title, but a Star Posts: 179Registered User Investigator
    edited May 11
    Great open letter addressing a very real issue. But is Zynga even involved in this forum anymore? I have not seen a post from a moderator in a while. Zynga will make no changes unless it involes money. So maybe the users who have been scammed in the WWF venue should look at some type of class action. THAT would get Zynga's attention
    .
  • SusanGormanSusanGorman Posts: 5Registered User, Facebook Connect User Loose Cannon
    The Military Romance Player is still alive and salivating. Yesterday I turned on Play With Someone New and was immediately challenged by 3 mysteriously amorous opponents. Same old story, song, and dance. Reported & blocked them for IMPERSONATION ABUSE. They ran when I confronted them. So creeepy.
  • ShoshanaShoshana Posts: 1Registered User, Facebook Connect User Not a Title, but a Star

    I have been playing for years but did not have this problem until a few weeks ago. Amazing that the story is always the same -- widowed engineer working on an oil rig with a 12-year-old son. This guy's name (probably fake) is Derek Kess claiming to be from the Netherlands. Just reported and blocked him.

  • LucasnanaLucasnana Posts: 1Registered User, Facebook Connect User Not a Title, but a Star

    Same story here. Beware of MatthewWilliams2121 who is using a photo of Victor Sayegh (a very good looking and legitimate person in North Carolina). I don’t know how to reproduce the photo here as another person did a few days ago...that is how I discovered this imposter. His profile says he joined April 30, 2018. Good player but very grammatically challenged. Works as an “independent Oil Pipe Line and Tank Farm Welding Contractor and the contract ends in about 6 weeks when he will retire. Wife killed in auto accident but before that lost a daughter in childbirth. I suspect he is priming several women and if they are not aware of these scams, they could be taken in. The only reason I checked him out was because he was the second one who had a similar story...the first one went away on his own after I didn’t respond to his chat. But I thought he was just an isolated lonely loony until MatthewWilliams popped in.

  • GloriaBGloriaB Posts: 3Registered User, Facebook Connect User Not a Title, but a Star

    When I read comments from players who have encountered a scammer, they think they'll warn the rest of us by posting the scammer's game name. It's my impression that a few of the scammers may try using the same name over and over, but many will develop a new identity fairly frequently. So please don't think you're safe if you're dealing with a player who has a name you haven't seen in the forums. If the person you're playing with seems quite eager to talk with you off the game site, tells you how they love you fairly soon, has a poor ability with the language yet has a job that would require a higher education, pay attention and do NOT give them any of your contact information. Do NOT chat with them off the game website, no matter how much they pressure you. A genuine person who has no ulterior motives is not going to be that insistent on getting you off the game to talk with them and share pictures. Find a friend or romantic partner some other way, but not this way, believe me.

  • JRockJRock Posts: 1Registered User, Facebook Connect User Not a Title, but a Star
    Thank you all for your warnings! I’ve been playing for years and never had problems, now two bald men in two days who are chatty and both saying they are serving in Iraq. One with odd grammar, and one playing ridiculously unusual and high scoring words. I was suspicious from the start but chatting in the game trying to figure out their angle. One goes by Brian Sanders and the other by Dean Maxwell.
  • itsmesarahitsmesarah Posts: 2Registered User, Facebook Connect User Not a Title, but a Star
    They all have the same exact story — widower on an oil rig. Do they think (or hope) we are stupid? Give me a break. I started telling them I have 17 children and I own a swingers club. I’m so sick of it. This happens at least 10x a week.
  • caperjackiecaperjackie Posts: 3Registered User, Facebook Connect User Not a Title, but a Star

    It happens at least 10 times a week to me too ......... there is a real problem with these people on WWF. I told one that I was a retired fraud investigator and even that did not put him off ........ he wanted to know what to look for so that he would not be scammed LOL. Zynga really needs to do something about this ......... even the catfish I have reported have not been taken off the site as I see that they are on line and playing.

  • Condor1Condor1 Posts: 1Registered User, Facebook Connect User Not a Title, but a Star

    Yes happens to me everyday. I agree there is a recent increase in this type of activity

  • Judester8Judester8 Posts: 6Registered User, Facebook Connect User Loose Cannon
    I just exposed a scammer posing as Chase Wilson. He is really Walter Clark and is on fb. His photo came up on tineye.com
  • SusanGormanSusanGorman Posts: 5Registered User, Facebook Connect User Loose Cannon
    edited September 29
    I have changed my profile name and photo, & am still trying to remove my gender ID.

    Yet still I receive scammer challenges on WWF at least once a day. This morning was a bit different, James Smith (fundraiser600) brags to me about his investments with crypto currency on the initial chat attempt. I guess the scammers have moved on from romance.

    This makes me ill. Please do something, Zynga.
  • SusanGormanSusanGorman Posts: 5Registered User, Facebook Connect User Loose Cannon
    What information is important to obtain from a scammer in order to help stop it? Just the user name could hardly be that since it can be changed at any time. I have a scamner on the hook right now. Stringing him along until I get answers. 😜
  • linkshighlightslinkshighlights Posts: 1,319Registered User, Facebook Connect User Cream Corn Champion

    @SusanGorman I'm not sure how much you want to mess with a criminal. Even if you got a name and address and turned it over to law enforcement, I'm not sure they would investigate or not.

    It would make more sense for Zynga to work with law enforcement and run a sting operation by getting the scammers to give an address to send money or gift-cards and arrest the people who show up to collect them.

  • SusanGormanSusanGorman Posts: 5Registered User, Facebook Connect User Loose Cannon
    That makes sense. JIM ROB has stopped rematching me since I continued to make fun of his English when he asked me personal questions. His last comment was, he lost his wallet. I responded that he must be some kind of **** to allow that to happen. Romance over Lololol!
  • BoogieBoogie Posts: 2Registered User, Facebook Connect User Not a Title, but a Star
    Some more to watch out for:
    Stephane Abriel
    Tomkins Fergusson
    Greg Evans
  • AngelaButtersAngelaButters Posts: 1Registered User, Facebook Connect User Not a Title, but a Star
    I have 3 more to add to the list:

    Tommyhill142
    Jeffreyscoot6000
    Sweetwilliamdavis3313

    Actually I’ve had 4 others as well in the last week but failed to write their username down.

    I hope something gets done about this!

    Thanks!
  • sspharlapsspharlap Posts: 19Registered User, Facebook Connect User Muffin
    My scammer has 6 aliases that I know of and probably more that I don’t. He is very persuasive but widowed and works on an oil rig and yes has a teenage son in school.
    Watch out for Miguel Hawkins, Alex Fonte, Miguel Vazquez, David Mark, Hilton Harry Desmond, Francis Wallace and Francis Lucas. They are all the same photos
  • kds2018kds2018 Posts: 2Registered User, Facebook Connect User Not a Title, but a Star

    Oh my god! Thank you for your post! I started this search with: “When did words with friends become words with strangers?” After several attempts I wound up with this post. I decline unwanted words with friends games with strangers at an average of four to six per week!! Every single one of them that I have opted to play with has always, always “chatted” with me with unwelcome personal questions or wanting to know where I am. This game has become a worrisome stalker playground!!! I wish there was a setting that I could engage via proper programming that would disallow anyone that I don’t personally know through social media to start a game with me and if there already is such a way to do this then I wish you would let me know and right now! I am fed up and tired of having to decline games from strangers. I really wish I could call this Words With “Friends”

  • wwegekers877wwegekers877 Posts: 53Registered User, Facebook Connect User This Space is Available

    do you actually play the game?

  • kds2018kds2018 Posts: 2Registered User, Facebook Connect User Not a Title, but a Star

    Yes, wwegekers877, I actually play the game daily with anywhere from two to seven games simultaneously.

  • wwegekers877wwegekers877 Posts: 53Registered User, Facebook Connect User This Space is Available

    bu you seem blaing scammer not play the game

  • Abbs12001Abbs12001 Posts: 1Registered User, Facebook Connect User Not a Title, but a Star
    Totally agree with this ....i delete block at least 5 new games daily who are clearly scammers or not interested in playing scrabble .

    Luckily I enjoy the game too much to let it bother me but my friends really hate it when it happens and find it very off putting.

    There should have an option to turn off chat or just delete the chat function altogether.
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