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 / Updated 
By Herb Weisbaum

Don't believe everything you read in the paper. And don't believe it every time you think you get a paper's subscription renewal notice.

Newspapers across the country are warning readers to be on the lookout for fraudulent renewal notices in the mail. The scammers have targeted readers at dozens of newspapers, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Arizona Republic, Dallas Morning News, Denver Post and Seattle Times.

According to the Better Business Bureau, the fraudsters are using a variety of names and addresses, including Publisher’s Billing Exchange, Reader’s Payment Service, Associated Publishers Network and Platinum Subscription Services, just to name a few. The bogus renewal notices ask for checks to be made out to the company and not the newspaper, and sent to a P.O. Box in Oregon or Nevada. Credit card payments are also accepted online.

Wall Street Journal scam newspaper renewal example

The fake “renewal/new order” notices are for significantly more, sometimes hundreds of dollars more, than the actual subscription rate. 

“Even if you do pay up, don’t expect to see your subscription renewed. It’s likely scammers will just pocket your money,” warns a BBB scam alert.

When in doubt, contact your newspaper’s customer service department before sending any money. The U.S. Postal Service is investigating.

Herb Weisbaum is The ConsumerMan. Follow him on Facebook andTwitter or visit The ConsumerMan website.