Monday, July 23, 2007

Plush Pets Facing Identity Theft

Someone is taking the Web from the Webkinz.

Webkinz are cute stuffed animals that happen to be one of the
hottest got-to-have items among young girls. They cost between $8 and
$30, and each comes with a secret code number. Type it into the
company’s website,
instantly a virtual version of the toy appears and takes up residence
in Webkinz World, a site filled with games, simple chat rooms and other
online activities suitable for preteens.

But some merchants say they are noticing an alarming phenomenon.
People are stealing the tags that carry the secret codes and leaving
the toys forever marooned in the real world.

That’s right. Shoppers are snatching tiny squares of paper for their
digits and, in effect, chucking the actual toy for the animated,
digital one. It may well be the first case of identity theft of a
stuffed toy.

The problem has gotten so bad in some New York stores that the plush pets have been placed behind the cashier.

“We have to keep a good eye on them,” said Rosie Weissbart, co-owner
of a State News store on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “We don’t want
to, but it’s the nature of the beast.”

Article Link

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