Frequent use of stolen credit cards to pay for World of Warcraft subscription has prompted UK bank Halifax to block payments to the game's publisher, Blizzard Entertainment. In a statement, the bank said its decision to block payments was not a reflection of the integrity of Blizzard or its billing systems. "We have seen a …
The day ANYBODY tells me...
... I can't spend my money how I want is the day I start dealing in gold.
If my money's no good as the currency of the nation, then it's pretty damn fine as sparkly things.
@ what savings?:
"Also game cards for wow are not an alternative because they cost about 3 times as much as paying directly."
No, a prepaid 60 day gamecard costs about £17.99, whereas a credit card subcription costs about £8.99 per month (30 days or thereabouts).
So, credit card subscription (£8.99 pm) x 2 (for 60 days of play) = £17.98 which is only a penny less than buying the prepaid card. Not "3 times as much" as you say. (where did you get that idea from....??)
@Who would play WOW anyway:
Well, I do. I'm not a kid, nor am I a teenager who has access to daddy's credit card. But I am married, (the wife also plays WoW, we regularly PvP together....) and I am 30 years old. And to save you asking, yes I do know what sex is like.
Paris, cos I bet she plays WarCrack.....
Dont be so fast,,
I have had 2 cards scammed by WOW player.. one was never used and was for emergency only. On the other I had to fight to get back over 500$
No I dont play WOW.. and never will.
Happened to me
when trying to book a flight. I think it was Ryanair and my card kept getting refused. I rang the bank who told me they'd seen a lot of fraud with the site and were blocking it. 5 minutes later they let my transaction go through. I think I've flown with them since and never had it happen again.
I bought a TV from Dixons a few months back with my hard earned cash... then for the next week my Abbey card was declined at everywhere apart from McDonalds.... when I rang and asked why they told me I had suspicious behaviour on my account... when I asked what was suspicious about me buying a TV from Dixons once every 10 years they said it wasn't part of my usual purchases, so protect me they blocked me card. No letter, no phonecall, nothing. So now I have to have two bank cards with me at all times incase Abbey are unhappy with me buying an apple pie from tesco instead of my usual flapjack and block me?!?!
Idiots... about 6 months before they miss-arranged an overdraft and then charged me about £300 worth of fees when I was spending what I thought was available for my wedding. One of the charges was a £35 fee for stopping a £3 payment to Asda?! WTF!!! How can they claim they are trying to protect our money, when they are the biggest scammers of all.
@Ian (Verified by Visa / SecureCode)
Speak to your acquirer again and get confirmation of the rate change. Find out how that affects your monthly charges and then see if it's worth spending the money to set up 3D Secure.
It isn't a case of insisting your customers use it, but you have to give them the possibility. I had this from CardNet a few months ago and since then it has been turned-around. Visa were increasing their charges to the banks for non-secure transactions, but I believe they are holding fire at the moment - probably because the infrastructure / support is almost non-existent.
My payment service provider have only just gone live with their service.
My advice is to work out how long it'll take to pay for itself, then speak to other acquirers and see what their rates are - your current provider might take notice if you think about moving suppliers!
Re: Interchangeable Terms
>> My comment was about cashless societies in general. I apologize for my failing to recognize that English banking may not view debit cards the same as
>> credit cards. In the States a debit card can be used anywhere a credit card is used (depending on the card it can be both) it may not be the same over there.
>> My bad.
Solomon, your failing wasn't in understanding the UK banking system, it was in failing to understand the US banking system. In both countries a credit card uses the banks money (which you later reimburse them for) - a debit card uses your money. They are interchangeable terms in the UK too, but only amongst people who don't know better - I presume the same can be said for the US.
>> Irrespective of banking system nuances, my initial comment is still valid.
No it isn't.
>> If the bank has seen fit to issue me with a card, then they should leave me and my purchases alone. I review my statement each month and if something
>> is wrong I can invoke my buyer protection privileges and the charge will be refunded.
No the charge won't be refunded, notice the key phrase "buyer protection". The bank will remove the charge from your account, however the bank still loses money, unless they can reclaim it from Blizzard. This is the fundamental difference between debit and credit cards - with a credit card fraud, it is the bank's money and the bank's liability, you never have to pay for the fraud - unless the bank can show that you were negligent or in some way responsible for the fraud. With a debit card, it is your money and you have a lot less protection as ultimately you are liable, unless you can show that the bank or vendor's security let you down (or you have some sort of insurance).
At the end of the day, someone ends up paying for the fraud whether it is yourself, the bank, the retailer or some other entity. Halifax are absolutely right to take any measure to reduce fraud, it is just a shame they are stuck with payment systems that are so open to fraud (but then that is down to the whole industry, not just Halifax).
The real question is, if Halifax feel Blizzard are such a target for fraudsters, why aren't the protecting their customers by blocking debit payments too?
3D Secure and WoW
I'm kind of confused by the Halifax's stance on this one; I'm pretty sure WoW isn't using 3D Secure, which means, as far as the banks are concerned, all transactions are treated as "cardholder not present" which means Blizzard take all the fraud risk and attendant chargebacks, so why do the Halifax care? If WoW was using 3D Secure then I could understand their concern (not least because it would show up the inadequacies of the 3D Secure protocol) as the incentive they offer merchants for using it is that the bank takes the chargeback risk. Biggest problem with 3D Secure at the moment is that the banks have done a lousy job of communicating it to the customer, so most people when presented by the VbV or SecureCode page don't understand what it is, and it hurts retailer sales conversion (which is probably why Amazon don't use it and take the chargeback risk instead). There's more to the Halifax's stance than meets the eye here.
Halifax = Profit
Considering that there has never been a bank that Ive known where profit and cutting costs is treated as the be all and end all before anything remotely resembling customer service, this provides absoloutely no shocks whatsoever that rather than fix a problem, they just choose the cheapest solution.
Even with those Glasses, Howard would have seen this coming.
There goes the first Domino
Actually, I'd say don't be surprised if this is just the beginning of a larger shift towards several banks taking this decision.
Nevermind simple economics. Banks have a LOT of power and even with that power they find themselves unable to find an effective electronic solution to the problem so its only natural they go for a less technical one.
I also won't be surprised if this spreads to other MMOs where this kind of activity is taking root.
Its also a legal issue, in that its extremely hard for a british/european/american company to pursue criminals in east asia, extradition probably isn't an easy option and thats assuming that they can get past IP hiding and using random wi-fi networks in the first place.
This is just the beginning, of that I am fairly sure.
Halifax != logic
About nine years ago, I got a mortgage with the Halifax. I had a current account with another bank. The transfer between banks took three days. As I got paid very near the end of the month, and it took wages from my company three days to enter my account as well, some of my mortgage payments were late. As all these bank transfers took them six days.
After a few nasty letters, I figured the best thing to do was to change my current account to the Halifax, cutting three days of the transfer period.
So I arrange a meeting with the Halifax. I tell them the situation and say I want to open an account with them. The person I saw thought is was a good idea and I filled out all the forms. All I wanted was a current account with a cheque book and a DEBIT card.
Roll forward a week, I get a letter saying my application for an account was refused.
I make another meeting with my local branch. They are as confused as I am as why the application was refused. After half and hour on the phone, the bank bod says "Your application has been refused because of your late payments on your mortgage."
I say "One, I know my payments have been late, that's why I want to set up an account with you, so the payments will be ON TIME! Two, the Halifax has trusted me with XXXXXX thousand pounds of the their money to buy a house with, yet they wont trust me with a current account and a DEBIT card (if you don't know, a debit card only withdraws money in your account, what you don't have, you can't spend).
In all fairness the lady did say that was stupid and appealed on my behalf, but the answer was still no.
Bank of america
A few years back they would call any one that signed up for any ifriendfinder service. To make sure it was legit then for about a few months they just blocked all payments tos them
View from one affected.
Having had a subscription to the game possibly known as WoW for multiple years, through the same credit card / account. To have my regular payment 'denied' without warning or advance (or subsequent) notice from the Halifax is rather annoying. From this it is clear that there were no historical factors considered in this blanket ban. While there are pro's and con's for the reasoning behind this ban. (From my perspective some checking to see if this was a regular payment wouldn't have gone amiss.) The fact that as a customer of many years with the Halifax, there was not even a whisper of this ban taking effect. No phone, mail or even e-mail notice as given for this transaction refusal. That, I think is what is quite unacceptable. I think I shall be moving my business elsewhere.
Re: card details, unless I misunderstand what I read when I login to the WoW account control panel, most details are fairly well obfuscated. I fail to see how compromising someones account details leads to the possession of their card details for other purposes. If this is a vein attempt to prevent users details being acquired from generic trojans, perhaps pertaining to WoW then this move would have no real discernible effect, in my humble opinion.
I have just been in contact with the credit card company and was informed that they will not authorise payment under any circumstances.
The game company's side of things
There are some excellent posts here from the banker's side of things, and more good ones from a user's side of things. Not many look at the game company's side.
The fraudulent charges discussed here aren't so much kiddies using their parents' cards to buy an extra month of game time or a new account. Rather, it's organized companies set up overseas, in places like China, well beyond the reach of most law enforcement agencies in the West. These firms employ people to collect as much in-game currency as they can, then they sell that currency to players in exchange for real-world cash. This is referred to as "farming" gold, and the sale is often called real-money transfer, or RMT.
Random_player_1 is a WoW player. He's not especially good, so he decides to purchase some gold pieces (the currency in the game) from one of these RMT companies. He hands over his credit card info, and a few minutes later, a representative of the RMT firm shows up in game and hands him his gold. Random_player_1 uses that gold to buy new gear, which increases the power of his character and lets him do things that were too difficult before, and he's all happy.
Now, what happens to that credit card info? Well, without telling Random_player_1, that RMT firm uses his info to open a bunch of new accounts. Those accounts each get a free month, but require a credit card to activate. Each of those accounts is used to farm more gold (to be sold to other players), or to spam advertisements in the game (an offense that can get the account holder banned, which in this case would be our innocent, blissfully ignorant Random_player_1), or to do other nefarious deeds in the game. If the RMT company is nice, they'll cancel the trial accounts before the free month ends, but more likely, they'll let it roll over to a paid account, hoping to get another month or two of service from it before the card holder notices the extra charges, contacts Blizzard, then (when Blizzard refuses to refund the cash) disputes the charge with his bank.
You see where the problem here lies? It's not with Random_player_1, who didn't do anything illegal. He did something pointedly _foolish_ in trusting his info to the RMT firm, but it wasn't illegal. The fraud happened on the part of the RMT firm, which misused Random_player_1's credit card info. There's no clear evidence that Random_player_1 did or didn't authorize the charges, other than his word against that of Blizzard (note that there's no evidence of the RMT firm's involvement here either). Ultimately, the bank is left holding the bag. They have to refund the cash to the player, and as a result they end up fining Blizzard for excessive chargebacks, even though Blizzard had nothing to do with this whole mess and is as much of a victim as Random_player_1.
verified by visa is a piece of shit anyway
if you have a stolen card (which means you have the physical card) then then only extra piece of information you need to reset the password is a date of birth, and i feel fairly sure that that isn't the hardest thing to find out if you are hardened criminal gang.
you can probably google for the account holders name and location in facebook or somesuch.
its just a sop to reassure tim nice but dim.
you should start asking how many people you give your card details to have implemented PCI-DSS (supposed to be mandatory for all 18 months ago). Answer: Virtually no company anywhere.