As some of you may recall, I personally went on a rant on the Geeks With Wives: Press Any Key gaming podcast Episode 177 concerning my frustrations with the PSN and their tyrannical requirements to register a credit card on their system for ease of use. As it would happen, this appears to have been for the best as it has come to light that the PSN has some archaic and user-unfriendly rules in place regarding the fraudulent usage of a PSN and the associated credit card.
Redditor /u/kadjar brought up his personal situation in a post stating that he had been a hacking victim in which the fraudulent PS4 was registered and over $600 in purchases were charged to his credit card on file with the PSN. After contacting PSN support and speaking with representative “Malcolm”, /u/kadjar was informed that the maximum refund they are capable of giving is $150 which would be credited to the PSN Wallet, not to the original bank account. He was also informed that PSN would refuse to retract the fraudulent charges and that if he sought for his bank account to retract them, his PSN would be banned and he would lose access to all of his purchases.  To add insult to injury, he was told that because a PSN user is only allowed one deactivation every 6 months, he would have to wait that long before the fraudulent PS4 could be removed from his account, and /u/kadjar’s system could be restored. A second attempt to rectify with PSN support following a Twitter message was equally unsuccessful  with representative Mario.
In the aftermath of the Sony Entertainment Online security breaches that have been occurring more frequently since their security breach in 2011, a loyal customer would hope that Sony had evaluated their PSN account rules to adjust for the possibility that hacking may occur. Unfortunately, /u/kadjar does not stand alone in this blanket solution to correct a user’s account security. Redditor /u/InsrtCoins, Ryan Hamann, had a similar experience at the end of February with the offer of $150 wallet refund following over $600 in purchases as well as the refusal to restore the correct owner’s system to the account. He says:
“I have been an immense Sony fan for the better part of my entire life. I am deeply grateful for the hours of entertainment and enrichment that they have provided me over the years. I have very positive feelings towards Sony, as a whole, as I am encouraged by the work that they have been doing with the independent community and their commitment to artistic experimentation even in their biggest AAA titles.
This entire experience sullies my affection, to some degree. I feel rather betrayed by a company I have supported, personally and professionally, for years. To be so openly extorted by a company I have supported for so long is heartbreaking, especially over what is a rather measly (compared to everything that I have bought from them over the years) $570. I want to continue to support them in the future, but they are making it increasingly clear that they do not want me shopping on their online storefront, and they continue to alienate me at every turn not because I’ve done anything wrong, but because they were the victims of theft and I happened to be the one standing closest to the door when the alarms went off, so to speak.”
Another redditor /u/YouRedditHereFirst was able to have his correct PS4 restored to his PSN account, but states that a support member on the phone replied to his question of “If someone were to hack my account and charge $1 million worth of games, the only thing I could do is wait six months and then try to reactivate my PS4?” with “Yes” and then proceeded to hang up the call.
“I know a lot of naysayers out there have the belief that they are safe since they don’t hand out their passwords to strangers and those of us with hacked accounts must be stupid and lax with our security, but if the security flaw is on Sony’s end (as it appears to be), it doesn’t matter because we are all equally at risk. The fact is, Sony has some serious security issues that they need to come out and address. We want to give them money for games and entertainment, but we also expect them to protect our information. The sudden realization that they will ban us unless we pay for their security flaws completely erodes our faith in the company in which some of us have invested decades.” -/u/YouRedditHereFirst
It is my opinion that it would be in your best gaming interest to protect yourself in the following ways:
- Change your PSN password to something that isn’t associated with any other account.
REMEMBER: Length matters more than complexity. Questions? See XKCD’s Explanation
- Remove your credit card from your PSN, and really from any online account.
It is better to use a credit card rather than a debit card because of the ease to dispute charges
- Feel free to contact Sony on social media to bring more attention to this matter if you have been a victim of these circumstances. They can be reached at @AskPlaystation on Twitter or via their website at support.us.playstation.com
Thankfully, the Reddit community have helped these victims by offering advice, personal experiences, and some have even offered game codes to replace those that would be lost through account banning.
NOTE: At the time of this article being published, Sony US had not responded to requests for comment, however a representative has reached out to /u/kadjar  and /u/InsrtCoins to rectify their individual situations.
Clearly there is a growing sentiment of frustration with PSN. Do you share similar frustrations? Sound off in the comments section!