Headline news: Scammers issue bogus newspaper subscription renewal notices

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Nothing like a hot cup of coffee and the morning paper to start the day, right? Well, for many subscribers and newspaper publishers across the country, bogus renewal notices are leaving a bitter taste.

Here’s what’s happening: You get a renewal notice in the mail for your newspaper. The notice tells you that your subscription is about to expire, but you can renew it by paying immediately. The problem is, the companies behind the invoices have no relationship with your newspaper publisher or billing department. These scammers are simply out to rip you off.

Here are some tips from the FTC to help you avoid newspaper renewal scams:

  • Pay online at the newspaper’s website, or contact the paper’s subscription department by phone. Use the number on your paper, online, or on a previous bill that you know is real.
  • Sign up for auto-renewal and payment, so that you don’t have to rely on renewal notices sent by postal mail.
  • Be aware of changes to your bill. If the price or billing period changes, get in touch with the paper using a phone number or address you know is real. In some cases, the price on fake invoices has been four times higher than usual, and the subscription period has been a year, instead of monthly or quarterly.
  • If you suspect an invoice might not be real, check it out with your newspaper’s subscription department. If the invoice comes from a company you haven’t heard of, or if it has errors and misspellings, those could be tip-offs to a rip-off.

If you think you’ve spotted a newspaper renewal scam, report it to your paper’s subscription or customer service department, your state Attorney General’s Office, local consumer protection agency, and the Federal Trade Commission.

Now, back to my paper and coffee.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


Some one taking time to educate or wake up call.This is very helpful. Public shod know this.
Thank you

We are losing our jobs in newspaper delivery to technology. This is the last thing we need!


I didnt receive a 'renewal notice' but a bill to subscribe for a year to a San Francisco newspaper for a total of over $700!! It went promptly into our trash can.

Scientific American has had this problem so, they have been running notices in every issue for over a year now

I haven't had any problem with the newspaper. But would this apply to magazine's?

Can a newspaper continue to send you the paper after the subscription expires and then send you a bill for the paper you didn't want?

If the bill came from a company you haven’t heard of, or if it has errors and misspellings, those are tips it might be a fake. If you get an bill and think it might be fake, check it out with your newspaper’s subscription department.If you think you got a scam notice, report it to your paper’s subscription or customer service department, or to your state Attorney General, local consumer protection agency, and the Federal Trade Commission.

I received two of these notices. The first was one year subscription to a local newspaper I am subscribed to. I believe it told me to write a check for $399.00 to Time. I checked my internet to verify I was caught up on my payments to my local newspaper. I destroyed the invoice. About a month later I received the same type of invoice but this one told me I was delinquent. I called the newspaper then destroyed the second invoice.

I get so many spam calls on two phone lines I am overwhelmed. Not to mention I get daily spam in us mail from everything from banking to social security to auto insurance. Because it is so out of control I feel overwhelmed by your site telling me how much more needs to get done. Why isn't there agency to help someone with these severe privacy issues?

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