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UK bank blames fraudsters for World of Warcraft ban

Halifax leaves Blizzard out in the cold

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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 significant number of fraudulent transactions through Blizzard's gaming sites. We have, therefore, blocked the majority of Visa/Mastercard transactions we receive from there in order to combat this. We do not believe the fraud is anything to do with Blizzard themselves, their sites or the integrity of their billing systems, rather it is site users utilising stolen credit card details to pay for subscriptions," the bank said. "If a customer does want to subscribe to a game site operated by Blizzard, using a Halifax or Bank of Scotland credit card, we can arrange for the payments to be processed for them if they contact us."

A spokesman for the bank declined to elaborate on how many organisations were also blocklisted explaining that details of its anti-fraud systems work is confidential.

The issue came to light after Reg reading expat Brit Michael, who lives in Canada but banks with Halifax UK, complained to the bank about his inability to buy World of Warcraft subscriptions using his card. Halifax apologised for the inconvenience but told him its fraud analysts have "made the decision to decline all Blizzard transactions due to the high volume of fraud and a high incidence of compromised details".

Michael is unconvinced by Halifax's arguments.

"I am not aware of any other bank or credit organization refusing Blizzard transactions, so I assumed their exceptional behaviour in this instance might be worth reporting, especially if it convinces them to resume normal and appropriate behaviour in connection with these transactions," he told El Reg.

It's unclear whether any other banks have acted over similar concerns. Blizzard representatives didn't reply to emails requesting comment. ®

Additional reporting by Dan Goodin

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