The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is urging the public to beware of online hunting and fishing license scams leaving purchasers with an empty hook and wallet.
The DNR is aware of at least two websites appearing to offer fishing or hunting licenses. After paying a fee, consumers only receive information on how to apply for a hunting or fishing license. These sites also collect sensitive personal data as part of their unauthorized transactions.
“You will not receive a valid fishing license from these misleading websites. But, you will be charged non-refundable fees despite the money-back guarantee declared on the site,” says Kimberly Currie, DNR director of customer and outreach services. “The best way to make sure you don’t fall prey to these scammers is to purchase your license directly from the DNR or its authorized agents.”
Anglers can securely purchase a valid fishing license for the state of Wisconsin in the following three ways:
- At a Wisconsin DNR Service Center, or
- Through an independent license sales agent authorized by DNR, such as a local sporting goods store, large discount store or local bait and tackle shops, that use the Go Wild point of sale terminal, or
- From the department’s only official online license sales site, GoWild.
The Wisconsin DNR values users’ online safety and provides links from its homepage to a safe, secure online purchasing site. The DNR also provides information about where to purchase licenses in person, links to free copies of Wisconsin regulations and helpful tutorials on the DNR website under Licenses & Regulations.
If you think you may have already been scammed by one of these sites, you can file a complaint with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection by calling the hotline at 1-800-422-7128 or email email@example.com.