Headline news: Scammers issue bogus newspaper subscription renewal notices
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.