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Too Busy for Pokemon? Pay Someone to Play When You Can't

People are placing Craigslist ads, saying they'll log on to your "Pokemon Go" account while you're at work or in class



    Too busy with your real life to play the hit augmented reality game "Pokemon Go"? For a price, some entrepreneurs will play the game for you. 

    New ads are popping up on Craigslist nearly every day from people who say they will log on to your "Pokemon Go" account and effectively run up your score while you are stuck at work or sitting in class. 

    On a recent July afternoon, two 24-year-old Pokemon "trainers," Lewis Gutierrez and Jordan Clark, walked through Brooklyn's Prospect Park with their eyes glued to their phones, tapping and swiping away to catch virtual Pokemon for clients paying about $20 per hour for the service. 

    Gutierrez, who described himself as a welder and writer, said he began by helping relatives with the game after it was released in the U.S. in early July. Then he put a post on Craigslist advertising his services professionally.

    Homeowner Opens Fire On 'Pokemon Go' Players

    [NATL]  Homeowner Opens Fire On 'Pokemon Go' Players
    A Florida man mistook teens playing "Pokemon Go" for burglars and opened fire on them outside his home. WESH's Gail Paschall-Brown reports. (Published Tuesday, July 19, 2016)

    He said he was immediately inundated with requests from potential customers and had to recruit Clark, a part-time wine purveyor, to help. 

    "I couldn't even do it by myself," Gutierrez said. "I had two phones. I was doing, like, ten-hour days and I got my friend Jordan to come along with me. And now it looks like we are going to have to hire another person. So, it's just been booming." 

    The two college friends liken the service to dog walking and call themselves Pokewalkers. 

    And they aren't the only ones getting in the game. One trainer in London offers to boost your Pokemon account up to Level 20, which is very high, for a price of $185. Others offer Uber-like driving services with the promise of taking a player to some of the hottest Pokemon hunting grounds around the city. 

    'Pokemon Go' Takes Over Children's Hospital

    [NATL] 'Pokemon Go' Takes Over Children's Hospital
    At Johns Hopkins Hospital, "Pokemon Go" gives children with chronic illnesses the chance to have some fun. The hospital has been putting out lures to attract Pokemon to their Children's Center, and also has two pokestops as well as a gym where players can battle. (Published Wednesday, July 20, 2016)

    Played on smartphones, "Pokemon Go" has been a phenomenon since its release. The game involves going to real-world locations to chase virtual characters from the classic Nintendo game. 

    Paying people to play a game for you might seem to defy common sense, but Gutierrez and Clark say clients come to them mainly for two reasons. 

    They want to compete in the game at a high level, but they don't have time to roam the city and play the game all day. Or, they are getting ready for a "Pokedate." 

    "It's a good first date for Tinder," said Clark, referring to the location-based dating app. "A lot of people are meeting up that way." Some want to impress their potential partners by being in the game at a respectable level. 

    Seth Meyers Plays 'Pokémon Go'

    [NATL] 'Throw Your Balls At Me': Seth Meyers Plays 'Pokémon Go'
    When Host Seth Meyers came to work last week, he saw his whole staff was playing the new Pokemon game. The craze made very little sense to him so he had one of his staff members to teach him how to catch ‘em all. They also encounter a new Pokemon called a Squattle. (Published Thursday, July 21, 2016)

    Leveling-up services aren't unique to Pokemon Go.

    The clandestine practice already occurs with online multiplayer role-playing games such as "World of Warcraft" and "Destiny," where paid professionals help clients gain the necessary experience and resources in the game to compete at a high level when they are actually playing for themselves. 

    Busted! Reporter Called Out For 'Pokemon Go'

    [NATL] Busted! Reporter Called Out For 'Pokemon Go'
    State Department spokesman John Kirby called out a reporter playing 'Pokemon Go' during a briefing Thursday. (Published Friday, July 22, 2016)

    Publishers of such titles deem the act cheating and warn they'll cancel accounts of users who enlist outside assistance to mine for virtual currency or level up their characters. The terms of service in "Pokemon Go" explicitly forbid the practice of transferring access to an account to a third party.