Money laundering, tax evasion – even more sinister crimes – could be hiding behind the light-hearted community of SecondLife, where real-world laws don't apply.
In fact, criminal networks could even now be poised to take advantage of the very real advantages to be gained from the regulation-free zone.
According to Telegraph in London, Britain's Fraud Advisory Panel is trying to convince government of the dangers of virtual communities like SecondLife, where very real money changes hands, often crossing borders, without detection of restriction.
The Fraud Advisory Panel believes terrorist or criminal gangs could use the virtual world to secretly move funds. It is also open to abuses including credit card fraud, identity theft, money laundering and tax evasion.
SecondLife, which has been running for about four years, has a community of 6,2-million people who assume one-screen aliases, known as avatars.
The community exchanges "Linden dollars" (the creator is Linden Labs) to buy or sell items and property. These "pretend" dollars can, however be changed for US dollars and about &1,8-million changes hands daily.
There have already been questions about the legality of SecondLife casinos and German police are investigating cases on virtual child pornography.