Phony billers now targeting newspaper subscribers

Newspaper subscribers in the Puget Sound area are reporting a growing national scam is spreading.

That scam involves fake bills for their daily papers hitting their inboxes and mailboxes.

The Seattle Times this week warned its subscribers this not to pay phony “renewal notices” or “new orders” not from the Times.

Those “bills” are asking recipients to pay nearly $500 for a yearly subscription to the Times via check or credit card. That subscription rate is far more than the paper charges.

The phony bill scam is an old one that has plagued the magazine industry for more than a decade. Now that scam has spread to newspaper subscribers. Among the papers victimized by the scam are The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Arizona Republic, Dallas Morning News and the Denver Post.

The fake bills ask people to send checks to “Associated Publishers Network,” “United Publishers Clearing House,” “National Magazine Services,” “Orbital Publishing,” and “Publishers Billing Exchange,” the Times told subscribers.

Neither The News Tribune nor The Olympian has yet been targeted by the scammers, said Phil Schroder, vice president for audience development at the two papers. If readers suspect a bill they receive from The News Tribune or The Olympian may not be genuine, they should contact the papers at (800) 289-8711 or for Tacoma or (800) 905-0296 or for Olympia.