Fake license sellers defrauding anglers and hunters
Every day, so it seems, con artists find new ways to separate unsuspecting Internet users from their money. Unauthorized license sellers, aka fake license sellers, are the latest scheme bogus license websites are setting up in increasing numbers to collect high fees and sensitive financial date from California anglers and hunters.
The worst is that current law does not make these operations clearly and unquestionably illegal. The rip-off artists ply their shady trade in a grey area.
Fake license sellers do sell and deliver hunting and fishing licenses. The question is whether these licenses are valid. They may or may not be. Just what makes a license sold by a fake license seller invalid is not clearly explained in the warning CDFW issued to anglers and hunters.
The only proper way to buy a California hunting and fishing license is through either one of four official ways according to CDFW, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
- “Through a CDFW license sales office,
- Through an independent license sales agent authorized by CDFW (such as a local sporting goods store, large discount store, or a bait and tackle shop),
- Online through CDFW’s Automated License Data System (ALDS), or
- Over the telephone through CDFW’s authorized Telephone Sales agent. Telephone Sales can be reached at (800) 565-1458.”
CDFW charges a standard 5% fee for online license sales through their ALDS, the Automated License Data System, which has serviced the license needs and other requirements of anglers and hunters since 2011.
Bogus license seller charge the 5% and additional “shipping and handling fees” that are much higher than 5 percent of the base purchase price for online fishing or hunting license sales through ALDS.
A license purchased from one of these bogus websites may be valid. However, CDFW does not and cannot guarantee that these licenses are and will stay valid.
Please consider carefully that in order to purchase a fishing or hunting license from one of these rip-off artists, you will have to provide very sensitive personal and financial information. And that’s exactly where the greater danger lies when you purchase anything from one of these fake license sellers.
You just handed over your most sensitive information to an anonymous Internet seller who may, or may not, sell it on the darknet. This information is very valuable to the bogus license guys as an additional source of income higher than any handling fee they could ever charge.
To follow the ‘caveat emptor’ rules is an excellent idea. Before you buy and disclose any financial information, please double check the URL of the site. For ALDS it should be ca.wildlifelicense.com/ or navigate to the official site via wildlife.ca.gov.
They are the only reliable and safe links to the official CDFW website and ALDS. Why then take a risk with any dubious site that may use sensitive information you gave them to create income by selling your data on the dark net? Better safe than sorry.
Hey guys, you are savvy enough to outsmart one of the most intelligent game animals around. Think of your own interest for a moment: CDFW will sooner or later open legal avenues to put the license con artists out of business. The sooner the better. So, if you feel defrauded by one of them or question the validity of a previous purchase, tell ReportFraud@wildlife.ca.gov about it and let them handle the matter.