Warnings about trading; how to spot scams and not get ripped off. This page was first compiled in early 2002, during the height of D2X trading scams. Some of the news archived here is from that era, but most of the advice is timeless. Trading cheats never go away, they might mutate in form and grow more sophisticated, but they don't really need to. After all, there's always gullible fresh meat on Battle.net.
As long as there has been trading, there have been methods to rip others off while trading. These range from hacks that make an item appear to be in the window when it's not, to switching items, to trading temp dupes that will vanish when you leave the game. Blizzard has made some changes to the trading window since the game was first released that has made trading more secure, but the hacks and rips offs continue, so be careful.
If anyone is screwing around pre-trade, moving the item around a lot, switching it in and out, etc, be very suspicious. Ask before you trade if they are sure they have enough space, since lots of scams involve doing the trade and having it fail by lack of inventory space. If the offer seems way too good, like they are selling something for much less than the normal value, be suspicious. If you are getting nervous or suspicious feelings about the trade or the trader, don't be afraid to back out. Better you are paranoid than ripped off.
You have to be insane to install an unknown program on your machine. It could be any type of virus, worm, windows corruption bug, etc. You should be grateful nothing worse than your D2 account or item was stolen! Never DL and install anything on your computer if you aren't sure it's safe.
This one is almost funny, but it's been around for a while, and it does work. A scammer will get you to download a packet sending program, saying it's a way to dupe items. They'll then have you put what you want to dupe into the Trading Window, and tell you to send a certain packet. If you do it, the packet you send is an identical command to actually clicking the okay button, and there goes your item.
The vast majority of scams involve alleged ways to cheat, dupe, etc. Using someone's greed against them is a very old, and very successful, technique.
We're getting a lot of reports of this suddenly in early March 2002, with new details to the scam, but the same basic thing. If someone tells you to download some unknown program and run it on your machine and you do, there's not a lot we can warn you about, be grateful nothing worse happens than you lose some item in Diablo II. You could just as easily have given them your account passwords (and might next time you log on, if they had a key logger in the program they just gave you) or even reformatted your hard drive.
Never Drop Anything
As the title says, never drop anything, anywhere, for any reason. Players often pretend their trade window is broken as an excuse to drop items. Others will say they want you to help them mule something, and to show that they can trust you, want you to drop something on the other side of a wall. Don't, they have some trick to grab it.
There are dozens and dozens of rip offs that can be done, if the other player can just get you to drop your item. In D2C it was quite popular to rip others off with Telekinesis. Many newbies didn't know that this Sorc skill could grab any item, anywhere, even in town, and fell victim to it. Early in D2X this was really a major problem, with TK charges on various items enabling any character to grab things from the ground. For some reason Blizzard has never just disabled TK in town, but they have fixed it now so that the skill can't grab anything other than gold and scrolls, which makes it not very useful for trade scams, but not very useful for anything else either.
Common scams now are teleporting over the wall into town (possible in any town, but most often used in Act One) to grab anything you drop, or getting you to stand with a wall below you, so that anything you drop will appear on the other side of the wall. This is very commonly used on the bottom corner of Atma's Tavern in Act Two.
Also beware of Necromancers; they can create an Iron Golem from most items on the ground, and while it's pretty funny to hear about someone getting their trade item turned into a golem, it's a lot less funny when it's your item.
Don't drop anything, anywhere, for any reason. We've never heard from anyone who actually had a bug with their trade window not working, but we've heard from hundreds of people who were or were nearly ripped off by someone with one of these scams.
Trading Annihilus Charms
The "never drop anything" advice had to be partially abandoned once this charm was added to the game. It can not be traded, and can only be exchanged by dropping it on the ground. Players have tried to find various ways to trade it; usually by dropping it at the edge of the screen in town, but this is still risky. Some players have enormous amounts of faster run, and can grab their own item and then out run you to get yours before you can return to it.
The Old Switcheroo
This was really a problem in D2, when there was no 5 second timer on trades. You'd agree to trade an item, see the other player put it in, check it, and before you could move to the "okay" button, they'd switch it with an identical item. If they were fast or you were laggy, you might not even have been able to tell, or they could do it just as you were clicking the button, or simply remove their item entirely, stick it in their inventory and click "okay" very quickly, and if they had good timing you were screwed. Blizzard added a 5 second delay in trading in D2X, so now when any item is removed or added to the window the "okay" button is grayed out for 5 seconds.
Players still try the switcheroo all the time, but if you just check before you click, you'll never fall for it. There are a lot of items that look identical to a more valuable item, so be especially vigilant in these sorts of trades. All rings and amulets use just a few graphics, so you have to really check there, but other things like Rockfleece for Tal's Armor, Hellcast for a Buriza, a emerald-gemmed cap for a Harlequin Crest, are identical in appearance, so be sure you always hover on the item before you agree to trade. The cheater will often execute the trade while intentionally not having enough space, say it was a mistake, and then come back and put a look-alike item in the window, hoping you won't check since it was the good item the first time.
Another trick people will try is to switch two versions of the same item. Many uniques have variable ranges on stats, often on the most desirable stat. For example War Traveler ranges from 30-50% MF, if someone shows a 48% and you agree on a price, be sure they don't switch to a 31% when you aren't looking.
If you catch someone switching items, don't be forgiving, it wasn't an accident. Don't give them a second chance to rip you off.
Wait and Drop
Similar to the Switcheroo, some players will agree to trade, and as you are putting your items into the window, they'll suddenly cancel the trade, hoping you'll click where the window was, and actually drop the SoJ or whatever on the ground. This is a rather pathetic rip off, but if you are sticking 20 SoJs or chippies into the window, you can easily drop one as you aren't really paying that much attention with your click and drag routine.
If someone closes the window during a trade like this, feel free to be annoyed and tell them to sod off, rather than dragging the 20 items back into the window and giving them a chance to try some other rip off.
Remember that you can't pick up/trade for any Quest Item that you already have done the quest for on that difficulty level.. Newbies occasionally fall for this, and try to trade for the Potion of Life, or Book of Skill. If you try this the window will just close, and the other person will say there's some sort of bug, and that you should drop the item, and they'll drop their item, and you'll walk to each other's drop.
They don't even need to have some scam to grab your drop, since you can't pick up the quest item anyway. So they'll just walk over and get your item, then walk back and get theirs, which you can't do anything more than juggle.
These are the worst element of the game. Over time, players have found ways to use outside hacking programs to rip others off. There have been lots of these sorts of scams, mostly involving ways to make an item appear in the trading window, when it's not actually there. We've posted warnings about this on the main page several times, when some new trade hack has reached epidemic proportions.
Currently (Feb 6, 2002) there are sporadic reports from people who got hacked on a trade and came away with nothing, or an item that only looked like what they'd agreed on, but it's not clear if they were just switcheroo victims, or were actually victims of a hack. Likely there are some hacks around now, but they aren't in common use. In the past when a trade hack has been going full steam, we've had dozens of mails a day about it, and seen many more forum posts.
Temp dupes are a problem with trading now, as people continually find new methods to create dupes. Usually these are temp dupes, meaning that they only exist for a short time, usually just for that game. However they look real in the game, and can be used, so there's no way to tell it's not a full quality item when you trade for it.
Trade Hack Prevention
The various trade hacks work differently, so unfortunately, something that will fix one spoof won't always detect another. Generally speaking, trade hack items can't be moved around, or will appear the instant the trade window opens. Ask the person to move the item around a couple of times, from one side to the other, to the middle, since some trade hacks will only show up if the item is one one side or the other.
The temp duping methods usually require the player to do something in that game, so if a person has been in the game for a while, or joins to trade with you and then takes off to another act, or has a friend with them, be suspicious. If a person is trading a legit item, they won't object to joining or creating another game for it, if you ask.
There are new trade hacks found all the time, as Bliz fixes the old ones, so unfortunately you can't ever be totally sure your trade will be for a real, lasting item. Trade with people you know, if possible.
The 50k Rip Off
This one is really a pathetic scam, but we've had a few reports of it being used. A player will say they want to trade, and that their item is on their merc, and but say they are broke, and they need 50k to res the Merc to get the item. You'll give them the 50k, and they leave the game with it.
Most players could care less about 50k, since you can make that back in a minute in any big game, but it's still annoying, and a sad sign of how pathetic some people are to bother with such a penny ante scam as this. If someone does this one to you, be sure you ridicule them mercilessly for being such a lamer.
With Blizzard turning dupe detection back on in late January 2002, this has played havoc with Trading. A very easy duping method was turned loose on the realms in January 2002, and was massively-exploited. Players created thousands of the best possible weapons, armor, charms, jewels, runes, etc. After days of doing nothing, Blizzard at last fixed the duping method (which had been known about for weeks before it was made public) and enabled their dupe-detector, which now causes all but one of the same dupe to vanish in a game.
Unfortunately it doesn't seem to know which item is a dupe and which is an original, and some unrelated items that are the exact same will be tagged dupes, though this is not a common occurrence.
The problem with this for trading is that you can trade legit items for a dupe, use it fine for a few days, then join a game where someone else has the same dupe, and yours will vanish. There's no way to get around this, and no way to know if an item you are trading for is duped.
The vast majority of really good items you'll see for trade are dupes though, so just beware. Probably 99% of the Windforces, Grandfathers, great +1 charms, prismatic/MF small charms, and great v1.08 uniques you see are dupes, and at some point you'll wind up in a game with someone else who has that item, and yours might vanish (it seems to be whoever leaves the game first has their item vanish). This basically ruins trading for top items, since almost all of them are duped, and sooner or later it'll vanish on you.
We don't have any solution to offer to this, since there isn't one. Take the chance, or try to find your items on your own, or trade with friends you know don't cheat/dupe. Blame the hackers who find and spread these techniques, and Blizzard for their poor game coding that enables these to exist in the first place, and their generally slow hack-fixing response time.
Trade Hacks News
Archived news items from early 2002, when item hacking and trade hacking was running out of control.
State of Trading Report -- March 9, 2002
Check out this forum post, with several dozen replies from players who trade today, most of them saying it's not that bad. Some dupes and rip offs, but most players seem to have a largely-positive experience with their trading. This isn't what I would have expected, from the amount of emails I get at this Warning address about hacks vanishing, dupes vanishing, trade hacks, etc.
Trading seems to be okay with strangers for most items; with the problem coming in when you go for top of the line stuff, like elite uniques. These are mostly dupes, especially hard to find ones like Windforce and Grandfather. You can expect those items to be duped, and therefore there is a very good chance they'll vanish on you at some point, so beware.
The other real problem with trading items are hacked ones. Ex-runewords (Ith stuff) are all duped endlessly, but the game doesn't scan Runewords for dupes, so they will not vanish. Bugged items are massively-duped also, and they will vanish sooner or later, you can be sure of it.
Trading Unidentified items is the new thing. Most of the duping has been done with items given to NPCs for Imbue or Socketing, and you can not do those with unidentified items. An unidentified item isn't guaranteed to be legit, but the odds are much better than with ID'ed stuff. Just be sure you know what type of item you're after; some normal/exceptional/elite items have identical graphics, pre-ID.
March 11, 2002
Over time we've seen dozens of these, various packet sending tricks and other game cheats or loopholes that enable people to make an item appear in the trading window that's not really there. There are often problems with it, they can't move the item, or they have to disconnect and rejoin, or the item will appear the instant the trading window is opened. If you see any of these things, be suspicious.
Unfortunately there have also been undetectable hacks, usually involving temp-dupes, items that are duplicated but will only exist for that game. These methods are impossible to detect, since the item looks perfectly legit, and can even be used, but will vanish when you leave the game.
Blizzard fixes trade hacks all the time, but new ones keep popping up.
The newest one requires the cheater to disconnect from the game (part of the hack) and when he comes back he'll be able to show an illusionary item in the trade window. Something he has in his inventory.
This mail came in about the most recent hack, March 12, 2002:
- I encountered 2 separate guys who tried to trade me a unique shako for 3 sojs (which is 2 sojs cheaper than the regular price), and they told me before hand that they have really bad lag and they might get dropped. and sure enough, after I showed them my 3 sojs, they leave the game. Then they came back.
- The 1st guy's hack apparently didn't work (oh thank god jesus i love you) so his screen didn't show anything and clicked the accept screen. I closed the window, and then he started saying "why didn't you trade?" "don't you want to trade?" and repeated a dozen times.
- The 2nd guy said he has bad lag and he might get dropped, and that's when I left to check your site.
June 2, 2002
There is a new working realm trade hack out as of June 1st.
It requires two people to run it; one gives the item to the other, and the hack is able to store the image of their trade for the next person. So you come along and trade with one of them, and see the item he just gave to the other person, therefore trading for nothing. The item can not be moved around the window, and appears in the top left corner. The scammer can not see the item, only you can.
To avoid this, you need to ask them to move around the item, or you could ask them to join a new game to make the trade.