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Scam Alert: Mynecraft.com


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#1

Mysterie
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Posted 17 November 2010 - 03:34 PM

Our experience with Mynecraft was a nightmare, and according to our research, the "Steven Hammerly" guy is a known scam artist.  As a caution to all beware any host with out an extablished reputation (1+ years) that refuses to take paypal!

Problems with Mynecraft initially included: Missing inventory, world resets, constant downtime, progress resetting, severe lag, whitelist down, lost days of progress due to one griefing incident (despite claims for frequent backups), and much more.  Steve is quite a smooth-talker, seems extremely friendly, and clearly experienced scamming people, claiming the problems are temporary and appealing to people to be patient, and (supposedly) offering free upgrades and more free-time on services.

Despite supposedly having an extra two weeks of free time (along with 2+ weeks of downtime), our credit card was charged 5 days before the next billing cycle.  Our member had to cancel his credit card and is trying to dispute the charge.  It also appears all updates to our world over the last month are lost, as we were never able to get access to any of the backups.

Here's info I extracted from our discussion / investigation so far.


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#2

bobsnox
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Posted 17 November 2010 - 04:05 PM

Thank goodness I never gave him my information.
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#3

Skully7780

Posted 17 November 2010 - 04:25 PM

Just moved off his site, up on a new host, new IP!

Bastards..

#4

rdbruski
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Posted 17 November 2010 - 04:35 PM

+1 to being scammed by Mynecraft.  These guys will take your money and you will not see it again.  We need to keep this bumped.  Their website is still up looking legit and taking money.

#5

Raziaar
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Posted 17 November 2010 - 07:38 PM

I am the individual who was operating the aforementioned server in the OP.

Yes, from our research it seems like this Steven Hammerly guy is a fraudster. Either it's an elaborate long con he was trying to do... or he tried doing it legitimately and it got so overwhelming he fell to his nature and abandoned it and kept trying to charge people.

The guy is VERY charismatic and can talk a good spiel and makes you feel really bad for him, but from my research it seems this is precisely what he is good at. He certainly took us for a loop, and even his own sponsor The Shaft Podcast. Considering the fact that he hasn't been around to dispute these claims, we only really have our experiences and research to speak for him.

As mentioned in the OP, I am having to dispute the second charge on my account, since he said he would give us 2 weeks free, and then later said our account was free until we had a satisfactory experience. However, he did end up charging again, and 5 days early(only 24-25 days of service, half of it where the server was completely down). I have to probably end up cancelling my card and eating the charges dealt to me.

None of the above frustrates me more than the fact that we have lost a month of our time, a month of my time, and a month of what can be called server progress. Many of our members spent a crazy amount of time building stuff since we went with Mynecraft and now they're going to lose all of that.

Don't go with Mynecraft. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT try and make a new account with Mynecraft, and get out/cancel your cards/dispute your charges if you are still being hosted by them.

Thanks for reading this. Sorry for anybody else who got scammed. I know there are quite a few of you out there.

#6

jonathanbloom

Posted 17 November 2010 - 08:18 PM

Yeah, I also got scammed by them. They charged me twice and I also have to get a new card.

#7

Pyronaut
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Posted 17 November 2010 - 09:52 PM

IMO, this looks obvious from the outset. What you should do is take any semi-large server size, let's take the 8gb "server".

Memory 8192MB
CPU Intel Quad-Core Xeon 5500 series 2.93 GHz X2  
CPU Cores 8
Bandwidth Unlimited
HDD Size 120GB
Max Players 80
Price $101.99

I can tell you now, the chances of getting a Xeon server, with 8gb's of ram for $100 is just not going to happen. He was likely just using OpenVZ virtulization, and giving you "up to" that much ram.

What do you actually require to run a minecraft server? Just a small VPS? I personally own a small hosting company and we were looking into doing a small offering. But from what we could see, and from talk on reddit and elsewhere, it really ate into the CPU and thus we wouldn't be able to fully utilize the servers.

#8

TkTech
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Posted 17 November 2010 - 10:08 PM

I'd just like to point out that he's also leaching off of the Myne server software's reputation and using it in his domain name. http://mynecraft.com Has absolutely _nothing_ to do with Myne.
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#9

Wargasm6
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Posted 17 November 2010 - 11:01 PM

Just talked to my bank about blocking any further charges. This guy hasn't emailed me back in like two weeks about technical issues. He's also gone silent on twitter for about 5 days now, he used to tweet multiple times every day.

#10

HappyWulf
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Posted 17 November 2010 - 11:47 PM

I run my own server out of my closet on a shitty little computer with like 2 gigs of ram, and it's only a single core. It runs fine, it just needs to be reset once every other day or so, which makes it also a good time for me to make a back up at the same time. (Which I then upload to DropBox to share with a friend of mine who is composing a record of how the server is evolving with Cartographer)

I say we go back to the indie roots and host this S ourselves! I'm doing it, so can all of you! all's it takes is an old computer you're no longer using and probably have stashed away in your closet somewhere and set it up on your network, and forward the ports on your router.

When I add monsters once Damage goes live, it might cause my server to strain a bit, but Notch is also promising more stability, so I'm not too worried. I'll just refresh the server daily instead of every 2 days.

Best,
HappyWulf

#11

talbot
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Posted 18 November 2010 - 12:14 AM

i did some sleuthing of my own last night, looked up "hidden magic consulting" and ended up calling a guy named steven s. who claims that steve hammerly lived with him but moved out a year ago. the number on my cc statement seems to be steve hammerly's cell phone but of course it just goes straight to voicemail.

i've tried getting my bank (bofa) to do chargebacks before and they always say, "if you gave them your cc info there's nothing we can do." which is a load of bunk, but visa says the same thing no matter how many people i talk to.

i'm asking anyone else who's been scammed by mynecraft to step forward and join me in getting the police involved. they won't do anything if it's just a few of us, but from the number of tweets i've seen, there's quite a few of us out there.

#12

oden2005
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Posted 18 November 2010 - 12:26 AM

Sadly I too was taken in by all this and lost a months worth of building on my server as well. I too was also charged the second time and am disputing the charges with my bank and blocking any further charges.  I had the same problems listed above. Seemed like they were trying hard to make us happy but suffered from severe lag frequent downtime and lost progress. Sign me up for any possible action that can be taken against this guy.

#13

Raziaar
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Posted 18 November 2010 - 12:29 AM

Hey, if you can get the police involved, I'm all for it. The more and more I dig, the more and more this guy seems like a professional scam artist.

Think he has enough addresses?

Posted Image


His wife is an accomplice in it.

http://www.myspace.com/457843143

She was the one handling all the sales and such.



EDIT: Further investigation yields his facebook account.

http://www.facebook.com/skhammerly

http://www.facebook....erly/1385731136

That's his wife on facebook as "Erin Hammerly" Same person as Fitzy Hammerly.

Must be his mom or something. Maybe somebody who is serious about bringing these guys out can use some of this information. Don't harass his family obviously, but maybe you can use them to probe questions about whereabouts.


http://www.facebook.... ... 1112845530

#14

wicked_zel

Posted 18 November 2010 - 01:29 AM

talbot said:

...
i've tried getting my bank (bofa) to do chargebacks before and they always say, "if you gave them your cc info there's nothing we can do." which is a load of bunk, but visa says the same thing no matter how many people i talk to.
...

I use BOA and they're refunding my charges. Just call 877-366-1121 and claim it is fraud. Granted if you actually received a few months of service, technically THOSE months are legit but for instance I paid for a month and received a week of service and he charged my card unauthorized a second time and there was a third on the way according to the boa claims rep i spoke to. Those are NOT recurring authorized charges according to the guy i spoke to, each charge is run as a separate instance as if he kept our CC info and re-ran them manually hence if you didn't explicitly authorize more, they are in fact fraudulent and reportable as fraud and refundable. Just call up and claim the unusable months he charged you as fraud for services not rendered.

#15

Scotti
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Posted 18 November 2010 - 01:48 AM

I feel I owe an apology  to everyone for not offering my experience sooner.  Like a lot of people here, I continued giving this guy the benefit of the doubt even though I had my suspicions from the beginning.  Unfortunately, I started typing this about 6 hours ago and a power outage wiped everything I had written.  

Anyway, I'm going to share what I've found in my research, and I'll share my email exchanges a bit later.  Steve claimed to me that his company grossed $3 million dollars last year, and that he didn't really need my money.

http://web.archive.o... ... -magic.com

That's his SEO company that I assume he's claiming made him $3 million dollars... interesting that it was only online for 2 months in 2008.

http://web.archive.o...w.punk4hire.com

This one's a bit more interesting.  Seems Steve spent a good portion of his youth as a software pirate.  Yo ho ho.

http://maps.google.c... ... l=en&gl=us

This is the listed address for his company that charged me, and the same phone number that appears on your credit/debit card when you paid for the service.

Finally, I called 724-964-6327 (their advertised "support" number) and spoke with Steve on Friday, November 12th, but we were "disconnected".  I immediately got a call back from (860) 365-8010, but no one spoke.  I tried calling both numbers several times over the following days, and I'm sure that one of them is forwarding to the other.

That's all I've got time for right now, but I'll share my email exchanges with Steve and Fitzy Scammerly... err, Hammerly later.  I'm curious if anyone else was told that something "incredibly serious happened" in their personal life on that Friday night.  Fitzy asked me to not share this because Steve doesn't like anyone to know any things about his personal life...  Obviously I could care less what Steve likes at this point.  I'm nowhere near done messing with him yet.

#16

Doggins
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Posted 18 November 2010 - 01:51 AM

This is extremely frustrating, I just sent visa a ticket regarding disputing a charge he just put through on the 16th (WTF) and blocking any future charges.

looks like im moving to allgamer.net

#17

Raziaar
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Posted 18 November 2010 - 02:31 AM

Scotti said:

I feel I owe an apology  to everyone for not offering my experience sooner.  Like a lot of people here, I continued giving this guy the benefit of the doubt even though I had my suspicions from the beginning.  Unfortunately, I started typing this about 6 hours ago and a power outage wiped everything I had written.  

Anyway, I'm going to share what I've found in my research, and I'll share my email exchanges a bit later.  Steve claimed to me that his company grossed $3 million dollars last year, and that he didn't really need my money.

http://web.archive.o... ... -magic.com

That's his SEO company that I assume he's claiming made him $3 million dollars... interesting that it was only online for 2 months in 2008.

http://web.archive.o...w.punk4hire.com

This one's a bit more interesting.  Seems Steve spent a good portion of his youth as a software pirate.  Yo ho ho.

http://maps.google.c... ... l=en&gl=us

This is the listed address for his company that charged me, and the same phone number that appears on your credit/debit card when you paid for the service.

Finally, I called 724-964-6327 (their advertised "support" number) and spoke with Steve on Friday, November 12th, but we were "disconnected".  I immediately got a call back from (860) 365-8010, but no one spoke.  I tried calling both numbers several times over the following days, and I'm sure that one of them is forwarding to the other.

That's all I've got time for right now, but I'll share my email exchanges with Steve and Fitzy Scammerly... err, Hammerly later.  I'm curious if anyone else was told that something "incredibly serious happened" in their personal life on that Friday night.  Fitzy asked me to not share this because Steve doesn't like anyone to know any things about his personal life...  Obviously I could care less what Steve likes at this point.  I'm nowhere near done messing with him yet.


That's all incredibly interesting. See I got a completely different story from Steve. He told me that he had quit his job to work on Mynecraft.com full time about the time when I started up with his service. He said he was just recently then starting to turn a profit on Mynecraft.com but that they were still sort of scraping by.

I have a long chain of e-mails between me and Steve, and I do admit he's one hell of a charismatic guy which helps his con along.

For a while there I was thinking he was operating a legit service and he just got in way over his head... but if that's the case then he's taking the COMPLETE wrong route by continuing to charge his customers. That just screams fraudulent and not scared and overwhelmed to me... especially given the threats of civil/criminal retaliation.




It was this particular email where I was thinking... okay, good. We can get to the point where we're satisfied with the service, and we won't be charged anymore. Steve had assured me that I was going to have a free service until the point that we were satisfied with it, since it's been a horrific time and the first half of our month was complete downtime.

Tim,

    Your server is up, and your server is free. If you make a decision eventually that your happy with us. We can talk then.

    Got back to work this morning. You're on new hardware, and the only thing that needs to be handled is your control panel. That should take less than an hour.

    We've doubled you RAM at no additional cost. I don't want anyone to complain of slowdown.

   I've also added a reboot feature to your control panel. Use that if you should ever need it.

  We've grown to quickly, and we're making changes to be .more transparent with support and status in the coming days.

Thanks,
Steve


Such was my surprised when my card was charged again only 25 days after the previous charging... despite the previous claims of "free two weeks" plus "free" completely for the server... and that nobody was supposed to manage my account except himself personally.

#18

HostedGear

Posted 18 November 2010 - 04:22 AM

It is possible he is in over his head but the fact he wouldn't even take Paypal shows that he may have been ready to run from the start. I personally as a Minecraft server host sat down and decided what two people could best handle and I took the buy buttons off my site the moment I hit that. Minecraft really is a great boost to my business's income during this recession. Good luck to anyone still trying to get there money back I hope all of you the best.

#19

Scotti
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Posted 18 November 2010 - 04:57 AM

Ok, so I sent Erin (Fitzy) a message on Facebook, that basically said "Quit hiding."  Within a couple of hours, here's the reply:

Quote

You're right. I removed the mynecraft email from my phone. I couldn't handle the constant dings.

My husband got arrested on Friday. 4 felony failure to appears. Add to that the charges on file that caused him to have court, he has a $331,000 bond. We have used all our get out of jail free cards. There were several. Fast forward 3 days and he is moved to the "Do Not Release" list. Were I to walk in with $331,000 cash I got from my magic genie, I would be sent away. I haven't been able to speak with him, and all anyone is doing is dicking me around when I try to find out about my 1 visit I'm allowed, as his wife, before his visitng list is officially approved.

Our bank closed our account on Monday, without notice, because we apparently weren't worthy of a Fidelity Investements checking account. Not enough investing I suppose. It is not a joint account. So I can do nothing but wait for the check from the account that's going to be in Steve's name. Without power of attorney I can do nothing. I had to sell my laptop for a quarter of it's worth to get gas money to get my daughter antibiotics for her ear infection. It's Betty's first birthday today, by the way.

My attempt to sell everything that's not nailed down is not going well. My car, also in Steve's name, is going to be rep'd, leaving me with no means of transportation. My phone will be shut off on December 1st. My internet was supposed to be shut off on Tuesday, but by the grace of God all the cable company did was take over my search engines.

Our 3 year old son is Autistic. He doesn't speak yet, nor understand most of what we are saying. He doesn't understand why his dad isn't here or why his routines have gone askew. He just screams. All the time. I can barely get Betty to eat anything. Be it the ear infection or her missing father. Most likely a mixture of both.

The house we were renting was foreclosed on and was auctioned off on Saturday. I have no idea when they are going to come and tell me to get the fuck out. My sister, who I'll be staying with, is in a motel with her family until December 1st. If I have to leave before then it'll be 3 adults and 4 kids in one room. Not to mention the difficulty of transferring my son to another school.

Yeah, I'm hiding. Over the course of 4 days my entire world crashed down around me. I'm refunding everyone's money and calling it a day. The last thing I need to deal with is servers.

Sorry..


#20

sparr0
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Posted 18 November 2010 - 06:12 AM

-1 for implying that hosts who don't take paypal are shady. Paypal is as shady as it gets.