I actually had the same problem when I first started, and it was actually something wrong with my card.
It is actually cheaper sometimes to buy gametime at retailers anyways. Eventually it's not hard to make enough
in game money to pay for gametime that way, and actually play for free.
It is a great game like you said, and it'd be nice to roam around with a fellow Hawk fan; if you still want, I can help
you activate your accnt, I can vouch for this game not being a scam, I've been playing since '06 with out any problems.