When 87-year-old Billings angler Frank Dahl logged on to a computer last week to buy a Montana fishing license, he instead got an education in fraud.
It was a Saturday so the local Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks office, where Dahl had previously purchased a license, was closed.
So he logged on to a computer, typed in a search for Montana fishing license, and up popped an official looking website called fishinglicense.org. A prompt on the website asks for information on the state where you want to buy a license. Following the prompts led Dahl to a $22 charge and no license.
“I thought it might be a good idea to alert people to this phony website,” he said.
Turns out he’s not the only person to fall for the scam. The Better Business Bureau’s website lists 24 complaints about the website over the past three years. The contact information for the website says Orange Grove LLC is the owner, but the address listed is a mail box store in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
“It’s definitely a scam,” Dahl said.
The subterfuge is subtle, though. The website verbage includes this note: “This site is privately owned and is neither operated by, nor affiliated with, any government agency.”
That same business address is used for another internet scam: postaladdresschange.org, which has charged people $49.50 for a change of address, according to the Better Business Bureau.
Orange Grove is also not registered with the state of Idaho as a limited liability company, the BBB website stated.
Website registration for fishinglicense.org traces to Domains By Proxy, LLC, another company on the Better Business Bureau’s radar for scamming and spamming.
Despite the hassle, and the fact that he had to cancel his credit card, Dahl said he had a good day of fishing after buying a license at Scheels.
“We put in the Yellowstone at Forsyth,” he said, where he managed to catch a mixed bag of sauger, walleye, drum, carp and a “big snapping turtle.
“So I caught a whole bunch of stuff.”