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TSTOgame

A blog dedicated to the popular mobile game, The Simpsons: Tapped Out

Buyer Beware, a public service announcement

As many of you may know, the popular blog TSTO Tips has been compromised. The site is now under the control of GameZino, a third-party company that is advertising a cheaper way to purchase donuts than through the game directly. In a typical case of “too good to be true”, this offer sadly is.

First off, the latest post advertising this amazing deal on donuts was written by an imposter. The former owner and administrator of the site was known for his moral stand against cheating. So when a post promoting this amazing deal was published under his user name, many took it on good faith that since it was endorsed by a trustworthy source, it must be legitimate. Any comments that suggested otherwise were deleted, further amplifying the appearance of credibility, as all of the comments were skewed to be overwhelmingly positive.

Furthermore, GameZino was offering the ability for users to purchase items from previous holiday events, something impossible to do without a hack. A YouTube video tried to explain how this was possible, but once you take into account the devices shown were jailbroken and running hacked copies of the game, the truth reveals itself.

It should set off an automatic red flag in your mind anytime someone requires you give up your account information and password, which GameZino was doing, but sadly for many the offer was too good to pass up. Once people found out they were being duped and scammed, they felt used and embarrassed. Disappointingly enough, this well-crafted scam not only earned this unscrupulous company thousands of dollars, but it also effectively killed on one of the most popular blogs dedicated to this game on the web.

If you were a victim of this scam you should take whatever steps necessary to protect your account. If you gave up a password you use for more than just this game, you’re going to want to change that password on any other associated accounts, or else GameZino may be able to access a lot more than just your Origin account.

While donuts may be expensive, the only legitimate way you’re going to get them for a better price is if EA is running a sale, which is usually denoted by an in-game appearance from Gil.

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40 Responses to Buyer Beware, a public service announcement

  1. VivAugust 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Wow. Just wow. I found this blog when looking for info about level 34 and at first had no idea why you were talking about a collapse of TSTOtips since the site is up and running. I did notice that the quality of the posts there declined a lot and that there were plenty of new writers there who had no idea of punctuation and wrote more about themselves than about the game, but I had no idea of what was behind it! I didn’t buy anything from Gamezino, but I have to admit I was tempted a bit as the endorsement seemed to come from a reliable source. I now read the information here and on other sites and just want to thank you for creating this blog and also informing people of what went on. Best wishes for your blog.

    • feelingblindAugust 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      I’m glad you found this blog, and thanks for the kind words. It has been difficult to spread the word, but I am doing what I can. Now that things have settled down a bit, I’m going to focus more on the game and writing new and relevant blog posts to make this site even better.

  2. Pingback: Hi, everybody! Hi, feelingblind! | The Simpsons: Tapped Out - Game

  3. yauamiAugust 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I think Mr T is very responsible. Ripping off other people so callously so he doesn’t get sued is not admirable. And we don’t know that’s true. He sold people out. He was a crabby person who got jack of it, went away, and decided to sell out. I don’t miss him.

    I am enjoying this site – I hope it the best.

    There must be a way to just export TSTOtips old content? I’d like to see Gamezino try and say he owns it? So weird to say anyone owns it.

  4. Keeper147August 11, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Ps I really like this site and hope it fills the void. Keep it up..

  5. Keeper147August 11, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I too was duped into purchasing items from Gamezino because of the post on TSTO Tips. I did think it was a bit strange that the site owner, who had been away for a while on a break, would make his first post after returning about getting your hands on cheap donuts. However with TSTO donuts being ridiculously expensive within the game itself, I nievely allowed myself to believe that the post and the site was legit.
    I went ahead and purchased from Gamezino, and whilst I did receive all/most of what I paid for,I still feel that the subsequent demise of the TSTO Tips blog was a price that wasn’t worth paying.

  6. EthanAugust 10, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    So if I change my log-in information, they won’t be able to give me what I paid for, thus giving me grounds to refute the charge on paypal, right? I’m so upset that I fell for this and just want my money back to spend on legitimate donuts.

    • feelingblindAugust 10, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      You can do that, especially if you don’t want your game hacked. I am not sure if anyone has been successful in getting there money back though.

      • UberFedeAugust 10, 2013 at 11:39 pm

        I have not heard anyone successfully getting their money back either, but I do know that PayPal is looking into the situation.The more people that file a claim saying there was a misrepresentation or fraud, the more like Gamezino will be banned from using PayPal as a platform.

        Those that attempted to use Gamezino thought they were using a legitimate service.However naive the fans of TSTOTips were, they trusted that TSTOtips would not direct them to a hacking website.Gamezino/TSTOTips claimed they were delivering legitimately purchased donuts on your account using itunes giftcards. Instead, they were using a hack, which many people didn’t find out about until well after they paid up.

        That would be the same as a company delivering an item that was different than what was ordered. It could also be comparing to finding out you were about to receive stolen goods, and attempting to cancel the order before it arrived.I feel like PayPal would give you your money back in that scenario.They should in this one as well.

        People who used Gamezino honestly believed that EA was getting their money, and Gamezino was passing a discount on to you.However, it turned out that no one was getting money but Gamezino.This misrepresentation is definitely fraud, both upon the player and PayPal. I really hope they suffer some sort of fall out and that anyone that was duped gets their money back.

      • feelingblindAugust 11, 2013 at 1:07 am

        I hope they get punished in some way as well. I’m surprised they got as far as they did without legal action being taken against them.

      • PuffynuggetAugust 11, 2013 at 1:11 am

        I’m trying to dispute with PayPal, which is kind of a pain. If it doesn’t work, ill go straight to my bank. I think it’s a good idea to take some screen grabs of their “legit” claim.

      • Liviadus022August 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm

        I got my money refunded within 30 min. by paypal. I just put unknown transaction and new credit card added, it had me change my password and security question and then 30 min. later I got an email saying my claim had been reviewed and I would be returned the money.

    • EthanAugust 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      Just an update: after I lodged my dispute on paypal, Gamezino fully refunded the cost of my purchase within those 48 hours. So that’s one success story for you.

      • PuffynuggetAugust 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm

        That’s great news!! I just escalated my dispute to a claim. Fingers crossed!

      • DanAugust 12, 2013 at 9:02 pm

        Can I ask what exactly did you say to Paypal? Im going to soon escalate to get a refund hopefully

      • EthanAugust 12, 2013 at 10:38 pm

        “My purchase was made in good faith, assuming that the means of delivery of my purchased product would be legitimate, as described on the website. However, further investigation reveals that this is not true, and these discounts are achieved by hacking methods which hurts not only the profits of the game’s publisher, Electronic Arts, but also my enjoyment of their game, as accounts seen to utilize such hacking methods may be terminated. Therefore, not only was the purchase made in belief of a fraudulent claim to legitimacy but also made buyers unknowing accessories to these acts of fraud.”

        In my dispute (labeled as “Signifcantly not as described”) I just stated the facts. And since it was never escalated, I don’t even think Paypal ever saw it- just Gamezino not being complete jerks. One note, though: I did this after changing my account information so they wouldn’t be able to deliver the goods, so this may not work if you’ve waited. I just did it as insurance so I’d be able to file another claim if this one failed.

      • RobAugust 13, 2013 at 8:07 pm

        After escalating my claim on paypal, I got an email from gamezino (I changed my password after I read they were not legit).

        “We noticed that you recently filed a PayPal dispute.

        Considering your order has not been delivered yet, we will refund your payment. We know how frustrating it must be to wait so long for your order. We are very sorry. The recent endorsement by tstotips.com, and response from the Krustyland update, just overwhelmed us with orders.

        Within the next few days we should be back on schedule, and be able to deliver orders within 24 hours. If you decide to give us another chance, you can use this discount code on your purchase: friend-2025.”

        Funny that they reference tstotips. Shady bastards. Got my refund though.

      • danAugust 14, 2013 at 5:15 pm

        Update: just had my case automatically escalated and got a full refund from Paypal in my favor!

      • PuffynuggetAugust 14, 2013 at 5:30 pm

        So frustrating!! PayPal denied me because its virtual goods and no buyer protection, now I’ve filed with the credit card company, whic says it takes 90 days to research. Grrrrr.

  7. MikeAugust 10, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Can someone post the proper steps to disputing the paypal transaction many of us made following the fraudulent claim of Gamezino/TSTO tips. There doesnt seem to be an “i was duped” option on paypal. I only saw 2 options and neither seemed appropriate.

    • feelingblindAugust 10, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      I’m not sure you can. I do know people were encouraging people to make a PayPal claim, but there really isn’t any justification for it as these purchases were made voluntarily. You may be able to get away with “you never received your item, or if the item is not as described” if there is an option to do so.

    • PuffynuggetAugust 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      Mike, please post if you figure it out!! If they’re scammers, I’d love to see the shut down, but not sure how to go about it….. Thanks!!

    • HomerJSympsunAugust 11, 2013 at 2:24 am

      PayPal denied my refund request saying their buyer-protection policy does not cover digital goods, so I’m currently trying to explain being a victim of fraud to the credit card company the PayPal payment was debited from.

      I also took the time to gather my PayPal transaction details and make a formal complaint with the FBI at IC3.gov making sure to include references to GameZino’s FAQ stating they use legal means to provide their services, how I later learned from Reddit’s TappedOut page it was a scam, that GameZino owner Allen Cox may have blackmailed TSTOTips owner Tony Campbell into handing over his blog, how TSTOTips comments were fabricated to praise GameZino, how YouTube member NuclearVideosHD is a complicit GameZino employee, that Allen Cox is paying a 15-year-old minor (NuclearVideosHD) to perform his hacking, and providing GameZino’s physical address at 75 State St., Boston, MA 02109 and PayPal email address gamezino @yahoo.com.

  8. iScoochAugust 10, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    One area where TSTOTIPS lacked was allowing the free flow of opinions, even on touchy subjects. I hope that your site takes a differant approach. You can show us by allowing this post to go through:

    If Mr T has any character, he needs to give us an explanation. I am so disappointed. I followed his blog from the beginning and trusted him and the site.I cant beleive he sold us to the wolves for purportedly $2k. In the grand scheme of things, thats chump change. It is so hypocrtical that he would take such an anti-stance on hacking and then cash in on a hack. In fact, he was an accessory to a much bigger theft than hacking a few donuts. He helped Gamezino steal from hard-working fans who faithfully follwed his blog, not a multi-billion dollar corporation. Regardless of whether he is getting a cut of Gamezino’s profits, he is just as responsible as the other parties if he sold the site as alleged. His hands are far from clean. I am starting to think this was in the works for a while. He needs to man up and set the record straight, and at a minimum, give us an apology and an explanation. I feel so violated.

    Sincerely,

    Very disappointed

    • feelingblindAugust 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      For the most part I am not a fan of censorship. So when it comes to hot-button issues, I am not a fan of picking and choosing comments to approve. The Simpsons tend to address sociopolitical issues in a comical, but relatable way. It only seems right to honor that by allow the discussion to take its natural course. Of course there are bound to be disagreements and wide-ranging opinions on some subjects, like gun control, but it’s not worth getting too stressed out over, especially when its just comments on a blog.If it got to a point where a heated battle was happening in the comments, I would encourage people to keep a civil tongue and to be just be respectful of differing opinions.

      I am not sure how culpable Mr T is for what happened to the site, but either way it is disappointing.

      • MikeAugust 10, 2013 at 8:27 pm

        I agree and thanks for your work. There is definately a differance between expressing an opinion and just being a wet raf. As for culpability, IMHO, It depends on whether Mr T knowingly sold the site to this guy. Didnt you post an email exhange you had with Mr T where he acknowledged the sale? I just want him to take a position on all of this and tell us his perspective.

      • fuelAugust 10, 2013 at 8:51 pm

        From what I understand he had to either take the deal to sell or risk getting sued. I am sure the company is not getting old items to sell without hacking, but it would be Mr. T’s responsibility to prove that they are not getting items through legal means. This might be relatively easy enough, but who knows if he could afford the legal counsel.Though the people who bought donuts thinking that it was Mr. T giving an endorsement might be able to get some sort of class action suit going. Since the company falsely represented themselves as Mr. T and never announced that they had bought the site and that Mr. T and the others no longer had anything to do with the site. I know that is really reaching, but its the only thing I can think of that might get people their money back. People did get what they paid for, but they were also scammed into believing something that was not true and the company would not have sold as much as they did if they had not falsely represented themselves.Just a thought.

  9. yayAugust 10, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I was scammed, sadly, but I really thought it was real because it was from a trusted source. :(But i blocked my account asap when I found out about and before actually getting anything delivered, thankfully. But I was charged, so now it’s up to Paypal, as I’ve disputed the claim (obviously). This was a few days ago.The funny thing is, I still got an email saying my info was Incorrect, so they couldn’t give me the hacked stuff this morning. They aren’t even paying attention at that company. lol

    • UberFedeAugust 10, 2013 at 11:19 pm

      I also was scammed, and have a very similar story.I really thought it was legit since it was endorsed by TSTOTips, who always took a stand against illicit means of playing the game.When I found it the service was not legit, I too complained to paypal and informed them of the misrepresentation and fraud being perpetrated by Gamezino.It is no better than someone selling stolen goods.

      Paypal is looking into the matter, and I hope I get a refund.It is highly embarrassing to be taken in by these guys.I sent them a few emails requesting a refund and this morning I got back an email saying my info was incorrect! Of course I changed my password the second the news came out that they were not legitimate.

      Anyway, this blog seems great, and I love having a safe, reliable place to my TSTO spoilers!

  10. wrrywartAugust 10, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I really like the site, I have been checking it daily.

  11. ChaffroAugust 10, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Likewise. I really like your attention to detail. Whilst I appreciated the efforts that the co-authors of TSTOTips made, a basic lack of attention to basic grammar (spelling errors and overuse of punctuation!!!!) made it feel a bit ‘lacking’. I’m fully behind you here and hope it can develop to become the number one stop for fans of the game.

    • feelingblindAugust 10, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Thanks, I do my best to proofread each post. I’m a bit meticulous that way. It’s part of the reason I wanted to manage my own site, as oppose to just being a contributor on one.

    • PuffynuggetAugust 10, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      Not to mention all the navel gazing and constantly wounded feelings. They had 14 million hits and would were hurt when anybody made a tiny criticism….they also got very pedantic towards the end. I’m sad to see it go, but it had been a downhill slide for some time.
      good luck!!!

  12. King of KingsAugust 10, 2013 at 10:03 am

    And I hope you take over being the #1 blog since I was a regular at tips. Now I am here and I really like this page keep up the good work and happy tapping…

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