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Beware of Deceptive Licensing Websites

by BBB Staff | Feb 12, 2018 10:22:04 AM

If you’re looking online to purchase, renew, replace or update your license of any kind, make sure to read the fine print. Consumers have reported to the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker about a concealed weapons license website, concealedweaponslicense.org.

According to the report a consumer thought they were paying to renew their concealed weapons permit. They received a receipt and took it to their local courthouse to receive the renewal permit. At the courthouse, they were told the purchase from the website wouldn’t allow them to renew their permit.

The Consumer claims when they complete an online search for "concealed weapons permit” or “concealed weapons license,” the search engine leads them to a page on concealedweapons.org. The page makes it appear as if they can apply for their Washington Concealed Pistol License (CPL) by telling users they can select a service such as purchase, renew, replace or update their license.

The site does state they are a third-party website that is not affiliated with any state or federal agency. The fine print shows they do not process concealed pistol licenses or permit applications, however upon first glance that information is not apparent.

BBB suggests consumers follow this advice before purchasing a license online:

  • Read the fine print. The FishingLicense.Org website does state that it is a private company and not affiliated with any government agency, but the warning can be easily missed. Be sure to review all information on a website before making a purchase.
  • Contact government agencies. To make sure consumers are getting exactly what they pay for, they should contact the state’s department of licensing before purchasing a license or permit. It’s also wise to research the type of license and costs on these secure, official websites.
  • Specify the online search. Consumers are easily drawn to click on this website since it has a high ranking on online searches. BBB advises using keywords such as the consumer’s state and a specific license type instead of vague license searches.
  • Start with trust. Before purchasing online, consumers should also check business profiles at bbb.org/northwest to see if a business is accredited, in good standing, and read consumer reviews and alerts.

Anyone who believes they may be a victim of a scam can report it to BBB.

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