Watch Out For $9.87 Credit Card Scam From Prophotosland.com

A reader named Megan noticed an unfamiliar charge for $9.87 from prophotosland.com on her WaMu credit card statement, so she began to investigate it. Not only had she never heard of it, but there was no website that domain, and a Google search turns up hit after hit of scam and fraud reports at various websites. It seems to be but one of numerous fronts charging fraudulent $9.87 fees to credit cards. Read Megan’s story below and be sure to check out this page for a list of other bogus companies to watch out for.

I just noticed a charge for $9.87 on my WAMU VISA card from someone called prophotosland.com. I had no idea who or what that was, so did a quick google search hoping to jog my memory. What I found was quite a few websites complaining about the same mystery $9.87 charge from the same company and talking about how they couldn’t manage to speak with any live person at said company.
 
So I skipped right to calling WAMU to report this fraudulent charge. The person I spoke to expressed no concern at my story and promised to send me a charge dispute form in the mail. I asked her if I should worry about the fact that this is clearly not an honest mistake and she said it was nothing to worry about unless they charge my account multiple times. I asked her what about the phenomenon of multiple people having the exact same fraudulent charge on their accounts and she said WAMU could do nothing about it.
 
I find it a bit ridiculous that I have to sit around waiting for her to put this form in the mail to me (as opposed to having something built into their website) and that I have to go to the trouble of “disputing” the charges from a documented fraudulent company. I don’t expect to have any problem with the dispute, but it’s still a bit irritating.
 
Anyway, you might want to warn your readers to look out for this $9.87 charge… it’s small enough that I imagine people who use their cards often won’t really notice the difference unless they’re paying attention.
 
Thanks!
Megan

If you’re a victim of this $9.87 scam, file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
 
“The Face of Credit Card Fraud – And What You Can Do” [CA Security Advisor Research Blog]
www.ic3.gov FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. Buran says:

    Some banks do let you dispute online. Some don’t.

  2. thirdbase says:

    @ Buran: Thanks for the informative post. Great information. NOT.

  3. sven.kirk says:

    “…nothing to worry about unless they charge my account multiple times.”

    My foot it is nothing to worry about. You/They need to cancel that card asap. It will probably get another charge soon since they now know that the card number is valid.

  4. Kaix says:

    WaMu is a terrible credit card company with incredibly poor customer service. Ask them for an APR reduction or a credit line increase and they’ll automatically spew some bullshit about how they don’t have the ability to offer any lower rates or higher credit lines, but they continuously monitor accounts and should you somehow happen to qualify for one in the future, they’ll let you know. Ask for a supervisor and after waiting on hold forever, they’ll say the same thing. Mail in the request and back comes a form letter with, you guessed it, the same bs.

    It’s too bad the card is by far the oldest one I have, else it would be bye bye.

    Call back and try speaking to someone else, although with WaMu it seems you get the same terrible service no matter how many different people you speak with.

    I hope this company goes bye bye soon.

  5. Kevino says:

    I got hit with photosparadise.com the bastards. Just notified the bank and all is well.

  6. BadBadKitty says:

    In the first paragraph it says it is photoprosland.com which i did a google search of and came up with nothing but links to this story … but your google search links to prophotosland.com … so which is it ??

  7. chrisgeleven says:

    Yeah cancel that credit card right away. Also I would get a free credit report from annualcreditreport.com to make sure your identity is safe.

  8. JN2 says:

    You think they will stop at doing it once? Change account #’s now .the bank won’t care if you are getting ripped off.

  9. carolott says:

    One of the sites that pops up in the Google search link seems to point to a company called picturesjungle.com and using your credit card at Walgreens. I couldn’t figure out whether it was only Walgreens online or if it happened to people who shopped in Walgreens stores. What a mess.

  10. AaronZ says:

    I only ever had one disputed charge on my Chase Visa and they resolved it for me over the phone. No form to mail and fill out or anything.

  11. bsalamon says:

    looked up the contact person…apparently they share a name and area code with an Alex McGuire who plays(ed) woman’s basketball for Army…for what its worth

  12. KivaWolf says:

    Typing the the name prophotosland.com directs to a website called just that but seems to be a website like photobucket or flicker.

  13. OsiUmenyiora says:

    I have my credit card set up to pay automatically in full every month on its due date. But I still check every statement for crap like this. Get a new credit card number ASAP.

  14. howie_in_az says:

    A few months ago I got hit with a $9.55 charge from ‘ONLINE GROUP’ in NJ. I disputed with my bank and they issued me a wholly new debit card. I guess these scammers figure that a sub-$10 charge will go unnoticed. Why their merchant accounts haven’t been pulled is beyond me — there are recent records of them on various scam sites.

  15. ZekeSulastin says:

    @bsalamon: [www.goarmysports.com]
    Gambrills, MD (410) is indeed identical to Pleasantville, NJ (609), amirite?

    Learn to use Google and WhoIs before you troll. Not only is the scam site is based in a completely different state from Ms. McGuire – and registered to a Gary Tibbets of MA ([www.whois.net]) – there are a whole LOT of them all OVER the place, as found in the very first Google hit: [www.dslreports.com]

    So it’s a pretty well layed-out network of scam sites with likely false contact information, and the very first thing you do is try to slander a cadet who happens to share a name with the scam? I know some people just hate the armed forces, but don’t you think that’s a little much?

    Anyways, my false charge story was actually GGW. All I had to do was call my credit union and they got rid of the charge for me, giving me time to get the whole mess straightened out.

  16. Doctor_Olds says:

    Whoa!

    [www.google.com]

    Megan didn’t use the full name in her search. It is http://www.prophotosland.com, not prophotosland.com

    See the difference?

    [www.google.com]

    [www.prophotosland.com] is a valid domain too!

    It was reported February 24 on http://www.BroadbandReports.com here [www.dslreports.com]

    At that time it looked like this image
    [i.dslr.net]

    Then on March 10th it wasrepoted on RipoffReport here:

    [www.ripoffreport.com]

  17. -MGD- says:

    Megan, call your bank back ASAP and insist that they classify the charge as “Fraudulent”, and immediately charge it back. Also, your card needs to be cancelled and replaced, otherwise you will continue to receive additional fraud charges.

    Your card data is in the hands of a major crime syndicate operating from Eastern Europe. prophotosland.com is one of a large group of fake websites operated by these criminals. These fake websites are used to launder hijacked credit card data into cash via the auththorize.net / Cybersource payment gateway.

    They recruit cyber-mules who unknowingly assist them in laundering the fraudulent funds out of the country. The hijacked funds have been tracked going to banks in Bulgaria, Latvia, Kyrgstan, and Cyprus. Some of the stolen funds have ended up in the Ukraine.

    This sophisticated criminal enterprise has been in operation for over 5 years and is estimated to process well over a million cards a year.

    In addition to the link posted above by ZekeSulastin, the story is documented here: [www.dslreports.com]

    It is imperative for victims of this fraud to cancel and replace their card. Insist that the bank process the charge as fraudulent. Disputing a charge is a procedure reserved for legitimate entities.

  18. elislider says:

    had exact same thing show up on my bank account / debit card. havent disputed it because i missed the deadline before i noticed it, but i havent found any info on the charge

  19. timmus says:

    Speaking as a merchant myself, I am completely blown away that this “prophotosland.com” has not had their merchant account shut down. This goes to show that Visa and Mastercard do not give a rat’s ass about security. If they wanted to, they could shut this operation down in minutes.

  20. timmus says:

    In fact I am so astonished that this operation has not been shut down that I can’t help wondering if prophotosland.com is an inside job. Seems like an easy way for the banks to skim some money through a shell company. Refund the complainers and profit from those who don’t check their bills. Those darn internet crooks … wink wink.

  21. camille_javal says:

    it’s shit like this that keeps me from leaving Wachovia for a more convenient bank. I had a ping on my account – from a place where I had shopped in the past, but in an odd, small amount – Wachovia froze the card within two hours of the charge, called me, left a message, called again two hours later to make sure I’d gotten the message, confirmed that it was fraud, canceled the card, and put a new one in the mail. Those fee-charging bastards earned my loyalty for a while longer. (Although, I’m lucky enough not to be an elderly target of telemarketers using the bank as a resource…)

  22. leastcmplicated says:

    the domain was registered through godaddy, u’d think they could give WaMu the info… *shrug*

  23. Pro-Pain says:

    How is this type of theft so easy to do??? Where is the police state when you NEED them??

  24. klondikedog says:

    This happened to me with Keybank. Called and it was removed in the hour. I have since got a new card – I figure it might have had something to do with one of the security breaches like TJ Maxx…

  25. SkokieGuy says:

    How outrageous is this? Most credit cards companies have automated ‘fraud detection software’ that looks for unusual charging patterns.

    We’ve all read stories about people on vacation or making large purchases with the charge mysteriously denied as suspected fraudulent activity.

    Yet this charge, going on for years, from known scammers, continues to be processed?

    Class action?

  26. @Kaix: wamu has incredibly poor customer service…

    The problem being that those scammers ARE ALSO customers. They must make a good fee off of this huge number of transactions. Thus they’d be willing to not go nuts with the banning.

    Criminals.

  27. Twilly says:

    This happened to me on my Chase Visa. They returned the cash same day. I just had to wait a week for a new card.

  28. If the scammers wanted to go unnoticed, they should have made the charge under “bank fee”.

  29. HOP says:

    we just had to change our credit card numbers….someone in idaho was using our info to do bodybuilding…..we are in maryland….and are old people who wouldn’t last 5 min in a bodybuilding joint….

  30. FLConsumer says:

    @camille_javal: This is exactly why I’ve kept my credit cards with Wachovia and not another institution I have no other relationship with.

    When the VIP TUNE thing hit, I called up Wachovia. In less than 5 minutes they had the whole situation cleared up. They even gave me the option of leaving the card enabled until the new one arrived (they’d restrict charges to a certain geographical area in the meantime), but I didn’t need that. A brand new card was overnighted to me.

    I’d hate to deal with one of the other banks that has offshore call centers and try to straighten out something like this.

    @timmus: If MC/Visa were serious about fraud, we’d all have PIN numbers on credit cards at the very least. Keep in mind that they “self insure” against fraud. All of those people who carry balances are offsetting the fraud costs. So, the CC cos probably have worked out what the cost vs. benefit ratio is on fraud. Preventing 100% fraud most likely doesn’t make sense.

  31. TessAntimachus says:

    Comment on Watch Out For $9.87 Credit Card Scam From Prophotosland.com I got this $9.87 charge on my debit card back in February, but it was from a
    site called PhotoGalax.com.
    I contacted my bank (BofA), and they told me to contact PhotoGalax. Did
    that, and I got a shady response from “Alex McGuire” promising a refund
    (which I never got). Needless to say, I immediately canceled my card, and so
    far I haven’t seen any other charges or anything from the company.