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My horrid Minecraft purchasing experience

Summary version: I bought the Mac version of Minecraft via credit card. This led to my card being put on a fraud hold, and the company that handled the charge asking me to provide personal and private information via email. Ergo, my recommendation: do not use a credit card to purchase Minecraft.

Updated on Sept 5: Skip to the end to see Skrill’s response to my refusal to provide identity theft documents.

Detailed version: Recently, my daughter started playing Minecraft with a friend of hers. At first, the iOS version was all she wanted to use, and she played that for quite a while. But then her friend upgraded to the desktop version, and after some discussion with her and figuring out how she could help pay for it, we agreed to buy the Mac version.

So I went to the Minecraft site, and followed the steps to pay by credit card. When you do so, your payment is handled by a company named Skrill (previously Moneybookers). Googling on either of these will provide some interesting tidbits, such as default opting-in customers to casino partners and their blocking the WikiLeaks donation site. I only wish I had Googled before I purchased. In my defense, it’s only noted in a small line at the bottom of the payment screen:

If I had gone my homework ahead of time, I would’ve switched to PayPal, but I didn’t.

I paid for Minecraft on a Sunday afternoon; that evening, for the first time ever (and we’ve had the card for over 10 years), our credit card was declined. I was at the grocery store, and had to pull out our emergency card, just to get the groceries home (I no longer carry a checkbook). After I got home, I called the credit card company, and was informed that the charge was denied due to “fraud protection.” The phone rep then went through the day’s charges, making sure all were valid (they were).

It didn’t dawn on me until today, after I did my Googling, that it was probably the Moneybookers transaction that triggered the fraud flag. (In the past, we’ve traveled extensively with the card, often in multiple states in one day, sometimes in multiple countries in one day, and never had it rejected.) But the fraud hold isn’t the worst part of the experience. The email I just got from Skrill/Moneybookers is; here’s what they sent:

Dear Rob Griffiths,

After a security check we need you to verify your recent payment by providing the following:

– A full colour copy of a valid, official identification document; such as your international passport (double page), national identity card or drivers licence (front and back). This is required in order for us to verify your identity.
– A copy of a paper utility bill (Gas Bill/Electricity Bill) or bank statement issued in the last three months clearly displaying your name and address. This is required in order for us to verify your address.

The required documents/information should be sent via email to security@moneybookers.com.

Please accept our apologies for any possible inconvenience, however Skrill (Moneybookers) must adhere to strict security standards which are there to protect your payment privacy. Please be aware that you will not be able to process further payments via Skrill (Moneybookers) until you comply with this request.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.

Kind regards,

Skrill (Moneybookers) Security

I provided all the required information online at time of purchase (name, billing address, CCV, etc.), so this request is really strange.

At first, I thought it was phishing spam, but all the links in the body (and in the footer, not shown here) went to the Skrill site, as did the Reply-To address. So it’s clearly a legitimate email…but the items they request are not something I’d just hand out to verify a $27 purchase! Basically, they’re asking me to email (email!) a scan of some of the most sensitive documents I have, including one that reveals my social security number. Sorry, but that’s not going to happen. In addition, I don’t believe the credit card laws allow them to ask for these documents, even if I were to (ha!) provide them.

I’ve replied with incredulity at their brazen request, and it will be interesting to see what happens next—what are they going to do, undo the charge on my card? That’d actually be fine by me, even if it means buying Minecraft again. Lesson learned, if given the chance to do it again, I’ll definitely be using PayPal and not Skrill/Moneybookers. Sheez.

Sept 5 Update:

I received the following response from Skrill:

Dear Mr. Griffiths,

Thank you for your email.

In order to fully verify your recent payment to Mojang (Minecraft) we would need the requested copies. Until provided your account with us would remain locked for further payments. We also would like to inform you that payment in question has been fully refunded.

Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you have any further questions.

Kind regards,
Skrill (Moneybookers) Security

Obviously, I have no intention of providing copies, so it looks like I’ll get the chance to buy Minecraft again, but this time, I’ll use PayPal.

Skrill had a chance here to do things properly, and they really blew it. As @UnOrigMoniker pointed out, I could black out the truly confidential bits, and send the forms with just what they need to see. And if Skrill had provided clear directions along those lines, I probably would have cooperated—I have no problem proving my identity, but I have big problems sending unedited documents that would make identity theft a piece of cake. But in two communications with Skrill, they never mentioned sending them just the bits they needed to see; they blankly requested the documents in their entirety.

Oh well, it all worked out in the end: It looks like I’ll be paying again, but using a method that doesn’t involve Skrill in any way.

34 Comments

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  1. It’s a sad state of affairs when PayPal is used as an example of a decent way to do business. Moneybookers should be ashamed.

  2. I agree that it is probably illegal for them to ask for those documents. You provided all the information they needed, your name, address, CC #, CCV#, and phone #. I’m curious to read their reply.

  3. That’s absurd. Tell the Minecraft people what you think, they’re very good people.

    (Oh and the desktop version is not just the Mac version, but cross-platform. Not that that likely matters to someone who’s clearly a Mac user)

    1. it seems it varies; they charged my, so far more than $80, after purchasing the iphone version of minecraft. They refused to reimburse me and until today, I am waiting for App store and Mojang AB to get me my money back.

  4. That’s extraordinary! and the irony of having to send all that to an email address with “security” in the name.

  5. I’ve tried to buy the game 15 times with visa mastercard and paypal but it constasntly declines it

  6. I purchased it for my 10 year son, but it won’t load it just goes to a black screen when logging in……I have try all the fixes in google and youtube , but cant get it to run…

    I have no contact number for minecraft so I can’t get support ..
    My son is sooo upset , but i cant find solution !!

    1. there is a black screen cause you havnt installed proplerly
      go to minecraft.net/download and download, then make sure you are connected to the internet and open the launcher. then open the profiles tab and select the version you wish to play. the press play and it will install that version. then you can play!

  7. I tried to buy Minecraft for my son; the transaction was declined and fraud prevention also flagged my card. Because I didn’t recognize the name “Moneybookers” when they asked me about it, I thought I had actually been the victim of credit card fraud and agreed to have them send me a new card. Then I tried to buy the game today using my husband’s card only to have the transaction declined again. That’s when I put it all together. This is WAY too much frustration to go through to purchase a game.

  8. My credit union, (and all other banks in my area) actively block all Moneybookers transactions due to so many problems with them. What makes it worse is that many of the banks in my area also block Paypal, because they are part of the court cases against Paypal.

    It looks like Minecraft doesn’t want my money.

  9. DO NOT think Pay Pal is safe from these thieves either. I bought Minecraft through Pay Pal and somehow SKRILL got my debit card info and hacked my checking charging me over $196. I am fighting it now. Skrill acts like they are researching this and PayPal will take no blame. THIS WHOLE MINECRAFT crap is BS online. BEWARE!!!

  10. I too tried to buy this game for my kids. But had the same issues as everyone else. On top of that I got a call from my CC company and said that someone is trying to use my CC to buy gas in Canada. I know that this site took it and used it as this has never happened to me in the past. My kids are really disappointed but I told them I won’t try to purchase it because I can’t trust the site with my CC info.

  11. fuckn wish i read this before i just bought it with my cc, fml now im in for a ride i guess FUCK ill let yas know what happens, ne ideas on how to proactivaly avoid this holla at cha boi

  12. I am going through a nightmare of my own after trying to buy Minecraft for my 11 year old son last week. Just stopped at a convenience store to buy my younger son a snack and my card was declined. Turns out someone made a total of $1530 in purchases on my card. The transactions are still pending but with a balance of $400 in the account at the time, it’s no wonder my card was declined. I tried several times to pay through the Skrill site only to have Verified by Visa turn down the transactions. After this I bought the game from Paypal with no trouble, but the thieves at Skrill (or wherever the bastards are) already had my info and now I am in for another roller coaster ride as I try to pay bills and feed my kids with some greedy Swede trying to steal my livelihood.

    Fuck Mojang and fuck Skrill. I am never buying anything from Mojang ever again. I hope they go out of business.

  13. Mojang is basically a scam. Attempted to buy an upgrade package for my Granddaughter via paypal. When the transaction went through it came back with a different package for a much lower level. She was immediately downgraded on the game. Could not find anyway to contact mojang. Called paypal and disputed the charge which paypal did. Granddaughter was immediately kicked off the game. This company is a fraud and nothing but scam. Turns out this is the second time they have ripped off my 11 yr old granddaughter. Shame on this greedy foreign company. Do not support them.

    1. i know this is late but i might know what the problem is. Your granddaughter was probably playing on a minecraft server and already had an upgrade on there, when you went to purchase an upgrade, you probably bought the downgrade and which it will downgrade you. Mojang has no control over this at all, you have to connect with the website of the server to fix this. Yes, charging back the money will get you immediately banned from the server but it makes sense really.

  14. I am amazed at how bad an experience purchasing minecraft has become. HOw can we trust our kids activities to a company that run its sites like this, has no phone options and uses skrill.

    I order from amazon everyday, and many other sites as well as iTunes. What a f… up waste of time and my son doesn’t understand when I promised to buy minecraft how I now don’t know if I trust anything on the site

  15. What the heck is a verification program anyway. I did everything they asked even though it is not part of any other purchase I make and just get stuck going in circles. no replies to email either. I went from positive to extreme negative view. don’t companies know that this will spread if they don’t address the probalems

  16. i tried to by the game with my debit card and when i went to click purchase, nothing happened i clicked it twice and nothing loaded up. i never got to the third step for (download and install) you think they can still charge me? i called my bank fraud protection but they did not see any transaction go threw. I really hope they dont hack my info and charge me for some BS.

  17. Taking a look through the comments, it looks like Bob’s post about Minecraft being a scam is somewhat uninformed. Mojang doesn’t offer any “upgrade packages”, it’s a one time purchase. Some servers, however, have set up stores that allow you to purchase things on the server. This is independent of the company that made the game, you’re basically just giving away your money to some guy who runs a server, who will let you have a certain item that you could have spawned into the game yourself.

    Sorry gramps, but your vitriol is completely misdirected.

    Some of the purchasing issues here are totally legitimate, but the other half are just uninformed people. Want to know the easiest way to purchase, if you’re not tech-savvy? Go to your local games retail store and buy a Minecraft prepaid card; it’s good for one copy of the game.

  18. U r prob purchasing It wring either that or u can just buy a gift code and use that make an acc its the easiest way mojang is not to blame

  19. just putting this out there… I’ve tried for several days to buy the game.

    got stuck at the stage where I can enter my cc info or choose paypal. nothing happens when I click the payment button. have tried multiple browsers on 4 different computers.

    now I’m reading all these horror stories here and elsewhere.

    pirate bay… much quicker and hassle-free solution. game downloaded in minutes.

  20. Its not mojangs fault. To buy minecraft, just go to your local woolworths of coles or whatever and buy a gift card for 26 dollars, then go to minecraft.net and activate the code. I bought minecraft for me and my sister and it works fine.

  21. It ~is~ mojang’s fault. It is their website, and they are responsible for their user’s experience. Horrendous.

  22. I bought a prepaid card from a superstore tried to redeem but it didn’t work the screen says “card is not activated. Take it back to the store” and store says contact Mojang!!! so not a happy customer at all. I still do not understand who is responsible if the card is not activated?? even though the store receipt says ” Transaction successful” ??!!

  23. I bought the game from Mojang.net. They took my money, but I didn’t get the game. I can still only play the demo game. VERY FRUSTRATING! I have emailed Mojang twice in two days with no response. I bought it through the official site, and used PayPal to pay. Still not good enough apparently. I’m not sure how to fix it either since I can’t get any info as to the proper way to fix it. It would be nice if the company would respond to their own help pages!

  24. to buy minecraft with paypal is only allowed if pre purchace games are allowed in future!
    That means whoever including my kids can just click away and but alsorts of junk!
    Sorry NO WAY.
    Buy a disc in a shop and install it.

  25. I bought a card from Target and attempted to redeem the code. The first time, i was put on a “Placing Order” loading screen for around half an hour. I tried to enter the same code in another Mojang code site, but the code was somehow invalid. 27 dollars down the drain. Screw you, mojang.

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