Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
This report sees journalistic “bias” less as partisanship and more as relying on too-comfortable habits
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Oct. 7, 2014, 10:25 a.m.
LINK: www.startribune.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   October 7, 2014

Newspapers are in enough trouble — they don’t need the added hassle of readers sending their subscription money to some random scammer instead of the Circulation Department. But that’s apparently what’s happening in cities across the country.

The scam’s pretty simple: Send print newspaper subscribers what looks like an official bill for their newspaper subscription, and figure that some share of them will either send along a check or — perhaps being a little less web savvy than their peers — go to a totally professional looking website like United Publishers Exchange or Publishers Payment and hand over their credit card info.

newspaper-scam

It’s an age-old scam, but it’s popped up over the past few days in cities from San Antonio to San Diego to Minneapolis to Denver to Austin to St. Louis. (And many, many more. The Star Tribune reported 72 calls from subscribers regarding the scam — who knows how many just put their check in the mail?)

St. Louis’ alt-weekly Riverfront Times has a copy of what the scammers are sending, courtesy reader John Hoffmann:

renewalinvoice

Past versions of this scam date back many years, but these particular scammers have also been operating for a while — their web domains were registered in 2011, and there are examples of people complaining (some understanding it’s a scam, some not) back to 2012:

Show tags
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
This report sees journalistic “bias” less as partisanship and more as relying on too-comfortable habits
“The first step is to accept that broad impartiality brings a stronger obligation to look.”
@nytimes is now on TikTok
“nytimes on the tok?! 🤩”
The first newspaper strike of the digital age stretches into a new year
When staff at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette walked off the job 100 days ago, they became the first newspaper to strike in decades. They’ve already been followed by more.