Business & Economy

LA Times reports scammers selling fake subscriptions

In this file photo, a bicyclist passes photos displayed on the Los Angeles Times building in Los Angeles, California. The Times said Tuesday, October 14, 2014, that scammers were targeting subscribers with fraudulent bills.
In this file photo, a bicyclist passes photos displayed on the Los Angeles Times building in Los Angeles, California. The Times said Tuesday, October 14, 2014, that scammers were targeting subscribers with fraudulent bills.
David McNew/Getty Images

A handful of calls has turned into hundreds as subscribers complain about suspicious mailings asking them to pay a significantly higher renewal rate than is normal, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The Times says about 500 subscribers have reported the fraudulent mailings since September 26:

The mailings from "Publishers Distribution Services" or "Readers Payment Service" offer subscribers a chance to "lock in at one of our lowest rates" for a yearly renewal of $799.95 — which Yawman said was 40% higher than the actual basic rate. The mailing lists a post office box in White City, Ore., and a website for "Publishers Payment Processing," which has a Thornwood, N.Y., address.

The actual Times renewal statement comes with the Times logo and a downtown L.A. address. Payments can be made online but can also be mailed to a post office box in Phoenix.

Bill Yawman, the senior director of audience development, said there was no evidence that the scammers had accessed the Times' customer databases. 

Still, if you're a Times subscriber, you may want to be on the lookout for suspicious renewal notices in the mail.