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Warning: Don’t Fall For The Same Online Fishing License Scam That We Did

Sergi Alexander/Getty Images for Buoniconti Fund
Sergi Alexander/Getty Images for Buoniconti Fund

It was the Friday before the 4th of July weekend and we realized we needed to get our Minnesota fishing license before we left for camping.  No problem, right?  My husband jumped on the computer and in a matter of minutes was yelling at the monitor and saying he had been scammed.  Here’s what happened and what you should look for to avoid the same scam.

My husband was in a hurry, so when he searched and saw fishinglicense.org at the top of the search page, he clicked on it. It not only said Minnesota Fishing License on the top but it offered boxes to check if you were applying for a new license or a renewal.  Because we were renewing he clicked that box and proceeded through the prompts to make what he thought was the purchase of our Minnesota fishing license.  Instead, a box popped up and said that he could now download a PDF of “How To Purchase A Fishing License”.  That was a purchase that cost over $19.00.  He knew immediately that he had made an error and it was his verbal remarks that had me running upstairs to find out what the problem was.

We found a phone number to call at the bottom of the page and actually got a live person on the other end.  After explaining our situation that person said “customer service is their top priority and that they would refund our money, minus $3.99 for a restocking fee.  WHAT restocking fee, we were offered a downloadable PDF!!!  We asked why they even offer a box that says “renew your license” if you were selling a book on how to purchase a fishing license in the first place?  After we made a big stink about it, the gentleman said again “customer service is our top priority” and said he would also refund the $3.99.  Which I’m sure they do whenever someone complains.  My thought is, how many people take the time or do the research on who to complain to?  Or, just let them have the $3.99, silly restocking fee?  Another thing that we found after visiting that site again was that if you scrolled down to the bottom of the page, they talked about dealing with commercial fishing licenses, not individuals.  Very misleading.

Since it’s fishinglicense.org and doesn’t designate a specific state until you get to the page, one wonders if they go based on the location of where your computer is and that this could be happening across the US.  Just think how much money they could be making!

Bottom line is, make sure you are on the MN or WI DNR websites when you are renewing online.  If you should get yourself into a pickle like we did, don’t be afraid to call and demand your money back.  I’m not saying that we weren’t without fault, we should have been more careful, but please be aware of what you’re purchasing and avoid unnecessary charges, I know that we will be more careful from now on.

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