When I got my most recent credit card statement, I noticed a small – yet unrecognized – charge for $9.87 on it. It was for a company called PicturesJungle.com.
A quick visit to their site showed what appears to be a subscription stock photography site, although it’s very light on details, and to find out any more you have to sign up and pay for access.
Anyway, I naturally called the bank and had them dispute the charge. They did. Easy.
However, something didn’t sit quite right with me, so I started Googling about for more information… and came across this.
Several people mentioning how they, too, had seen $9.87 charges from PicturesJungle.com showing up on their credit cards in the last two months.
Ladies and gents, welcome to the wonderful land of credit card fraud.
Also of interest is that the domain name for PicturesJungle.com was only registered in November, 2007. The fraud appears to have begun shortly thereafter.
Now, I’ve no idea if the people behind PicturesJungle.com are the crooks, setting up a front company to process small charges on the cards of thousands (small charge x thousands = big money). It just struck me as an odd string of events.
Probably something best left to the FTC to figure out through an investigation, should they be interested in conducting one.
In the meantime, I have contacted my bank again to have my card account canceled.
Anyway, just a warning to everyone to be checking their statements for the magical numer $9.87 from a new web-company of which they have never heard.
Note: Reading further, it appears that the company names “Prophotosland.com” and “Alkay Services LLC” are also showing up with fraudulent charges, primarily on Chase credit cards (and just because it doesn’t say Chase in big and bold, doesn’t mean it isn’t; for example, United Mileage Plus is run by Chase).
Update: Looks like ProPhotosLand has everything the same as PicturesJungle, except for the name and the contact info. Curious.
Update 2: More discussion, with additional company names being used for the fraud.
Update 3: I have filed a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. If you’re a victim, you should do the same ASAP.
Update 4: Yet more details on this scam.
Update 5: Just read on a message board that one person discovered the thieves were trying to open new credit card accounts in his name. Time to pull my credit reports I guess.
Update 6: Another lesson learned – if you get hit with this scam, be sure to report the charge as fraudulent and not just a disputed charge. This will (should?) ensure a charge back is sent to the scammers, hitting them in their merchant account. I just called Chase and they confirmed that when I reported the need to cancel my cards, they upgraded the charge to fraudulent automatically.