State of­fi­cials of­fer warn­ing about on­line li­cens­ing scams

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Frank Kum­mer

Penn­syl­va­nia of­fi­cials are warn­ing hunters, trap­pers and an­glers to be­ware of scam web­sites that of­fer li­censes, some­times up to $50, and take not only the money but per­sonal in­for­ma­tion that could be used for iden­tity or fi­nan­cial theft.

The Penn­syl­va­nia Fish and Boat Com­mis­sion and Penn­syl­va­nia Game Com­mis­sion say there are only two ways to pur­chase a li­cense: through the state-run por­tal called “The Out­door Shop” or in-per­son from a re­tail li­cen­seis­su­ing agent.

“If you choose to use a third­party web­site of­fer­ing to sell you a fish­ing li­cense, you risk wast­ing your money and putting your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion at risk,” said Bernie Matscav­age, di­rec­tor of the PFBC Bureau of Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The Game Com­mis­sion re­ceived re­ports that hunters and trap­pers who tried to pur­chase their li­censes on­line through un­af­fil­i­ated ven­dors never re­ceived them. The fake web­sites mimic the look of The Out­door Shop; at least one used a logo crafted to closely re­sem­ble that of the PFBC’s, of­fer­ing to “bro­ker” or “sim­plify” the pur­chase of a fish­ing li­cense for an added fee, bring­ing the cost to $50. They have also re­quested so­cial se­cu­rity num­bers and credit card in­for­ma­tion.

The cus­tomers were told they would re­ceive an elec­tronic li­cense within 72 hours but never re­ceived them.

“There is ab­so­lutely no ad­van­tage to us­ing a third-party web­site to buy a li­cense,” said Matscav­age.

An of­fi­cial hunt­ing or trap­ping li­cense costs $20.90 for Penn­syl­va­nia res­i­dents. A fish­ing li­cense costs $22.90 through the of­fi­cial site.

An­glers pur­chas­ing a PFBC li­cense through The Out­door Shop im­me­di­ately re­ceive a print­able ver­sion.

Hunters or trap­pers pur­chas­ing a li­cense on­line get a con­fir­ma­tion email from the Game Com­mis­sion and the li­cense is mailed within two weeks.

State of­fi­cials are ask­ing any­one who finds a sus­pi­cious web­site that does not link to the state site to call the PFBC at (877)-7074085 or game com­mis­sion at (717)-787-2084.

Vic­tims of a scam site should no­tify the Penn­syl­va­nia At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice by com­plet­ing a Scams Com­plaint Form. 2019 The Philadelph­ia In­quirer Visit The Philadelph­ia In­quirer at www.in­quirer.com Distribute­d by Tri­bune Con­tent Agency, LLC.

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