According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), there have been issues with online vendors selling fraudulent hunting and fishing permits. These vendors are known to add extra fees to these transactions. Officials also worry that they have also been able to obtain personal information from the buyers. So far, officials have shut down eight vendors since July of 2019, but that may not be the end of it.
There as been a significant comeback in these illegal enterprises as the Covid-19 pandemic struck the nation. This is most likely due to the huge spike in online shopping occurring over the summer, while people were told to stay at home. Thus, fraudulent vendors saw this as an opportunity to take advantage of and reap the benefits of the spike in online shopping.
The CDFW sent out reminders that there is but one way to purchase a license in the state. On their website, contains an “Automated Data License System.” In addition, they have official sales offices throughout the state. Furthermore, there is a 5% handling fee for such permits, while the fraudulent vendors frequently add extra fees.
However, some licenses purchased through the fraudulent vendor websites are valid. CDFW encourages those who bought a license through such vendors to contact ReportFraud@wildlife.ca.gov, to check the legitimacy of their license.
As a public service announcement, it is important to make sure to buy hunting or fishing permits from official sources. Most states are similar in that they have designated offices where those may purchase permits in-person. People also have the ability to purchase a tag online through the department’s website. Each state has its own rules and regulations, so it is important to stay updated on them.