Final update to the JBC scam saga.
David reported in comments that he has written to ASIC. He has had a response which I cannot detail here. But they are taking his complaint seriously.
What is not so good has been the response from his bank.
Apparently Mastercard have a system called Mastercard Secure, or Securecode. This is supposed to provide protection for cardholders against fraudulent transactions, and protection for merchants against false chargeback claims.
I have been a Mastercard user for years and had never heard of this scheme.
If a merchant is a member of Mastercard Secure, and they attempt to ‘authenticate’ a transaction through this system, then even though there is no communication with the cardholder, the merchant is protected against any chargeback claim.
JBC has heard of it, and are registered for Mastercard Secure.
I have checked with Mastercard, and I was amazed when I heard what this scheme means in practice.
What the Mastercard Secure system means is that any merchant who is registered under the scheme can deduct any amount from your card at any time. As long as the merchant attempts to ‘authenticate’ the transaction through the system, you, the cardholder, have no protection at all.
Mastercard will not attempt to communicate with you unless you have also joined Mastercard Secure. They will simply confirm the transaction as legitimate without checking with you, and you then have no recourse, even if, as in JBC’s case, the merchant is a known scammer.
This scheme, whatever its intended purpose, protects fraudulent merchants or scammers from genuine chargeback requests at the expense of cardholders.
I for one will be moving on from Mastercard.
David reports the fraudulent debit to his Mastercard has been refunded. The Securecode system does not protect merchants who deduct funds without authorisation, or transactions which are dishonest, as JBC’s debit to his account was.
He also reports discussions with the Australian Securities and Investment Commsission. Without discussing any individual business, they assured him that they and the Federal Police actively pursue scam sellers of sports betting or share price prediction software.
The smooth patter and glossy advertising material that promoted the JBC software was normal for scammers. Most people would see through that, or at least, still have questions. What made JBC more convincing to ordinary people was the fake websites they had set up. These were calculated to give even someone who checked carefully the impression that JBC was a legitimate and well-respected business.
Setting up fake websites to give your product an air of respectability it does not deserve is deliberately dishonest. These people are thieves, nothing more, despite their fancy advertising.