A Microsoft engineer is warning of the risk that hackers pose to gamers who play online role playing games.

Known as MMORPG, the massively multiplayer online role playing games create virtual worlds in which cold hard cash may be used in transaction to buy and sell goods in the virtual one.

Hackers can use Trojan horses to install keyloggers on to a system and then use login information to sell a character’s goods for real money on sites like eBay.

Dave Weinstein, the Microsoft engineer who spoke about the risks, told Reuters, “The police are really good at understanding ‘someone stole my credit card and ran up a lot of money’".

“It’s a lot harder to get them to buy into ‘someone stole my magic sword’.”

Sony last year facilitated the practice of exchanging money for virtual items by setting up Sony Station Exchange for EverQuest players.

Popular MMORPG games include Ultima online, EverQuest, and World of Warcraft.