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Friday, September 30, 2011

Disappearing Dollars

Every now and then, someone asks the question "Why are $L being taken from my account?"  or "Why does my account have a negative $L balance?"

There are four possible reasons, and I'll tell you about them in a moment.  First though, I want you to log into the Second Life website with your avatar name and password.  On your Dashboard page, look over at the left sidebar, Account.  Find the link to Transaction History and open it.  Set the transaction period to be for 30 days.

Voila!  Now you can see every in world or Marketplace transaction for the last month.  If you have ANY thought you might need to see further back than that, make it a point to visit this page at least once a month and download the history to a spreadsheet.  Linden Lab does not keep more than 30 days of this data for you.  Your Transaction History is the first place you should go if you have any question about your $L, or about an item you paid for but didn't receive.

Now...about those vanishing $L.

1.  Group Liability payment.  Groups often pay a small fee to have their club or store show in Search, or take out a Classified ad.  These expenses are billed to the group by Linden Lab.  Depending on how the group owner has set up the roles and responsibilities within the group, this cost is frequently spread over all the group members.  If you don't like the way your group handles this, leave the group or take it up with the group owner.  Many people don't even realize that this is how their group is set up to pay its liabilities

2.  Erroneous transaction.  This is very rare, but sometimes the payment system makes a mistake.  If you think this has happened, file a support ticket with Linden Lab.

3.  Malicious Account Debiting Object.  Sometimes an object has a legitimate need to have access to your account.  For example, if you set out a rental box or a vendor for your business, it will need access in order to issue refunds to customers.  However, some thieves take advantage of this function.  You rez an object, it asks for permission to take money from your account, and you (because you speed read info boxes all the time and don't really think about what you are doing) click "Grant".  The object then proceeds to drain all the money out of your account and send it to the thief.  If this happens to you, do the following:
A Rental Box Asking to Access my Account

  • Take the object back into your inventory (you could also just delete it, but it may be useful as evidence)
  • File an Abuse Report on the object and the person you got it from.
  • Submit a support ticket to Linden Lab to try to recover the money.
4.  Your account has been compromised.  Phishing scams have been on the rise in Second Life lately, and you may have given your account name and password to a link that someone gave you that looked like an SL website log in page, but was not.  Or you left "Remember my Password" checked on your login screen, and someone else who has access to your computer logged in and took your money.  There are other possibilities, but these are the most common.  If you think your account has been hacked, file a support ticket AT ONCE, or call one of the 24/7 Billing Support numbers.
Your Transaction Log and your $L balance are your friends!  If there is anything in SL that "keeps score", it's how much money you make and spend...another way in which SL is like Real Life!

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