The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has been made aware of several websites that improperly charge customers extra fees for online fishing and hunting license purchases and collect sensitive personal information as part of their unauthorized transactions.
California hunting and fishing licenses may properly be purchased in only one of four ways: through a CDFW license sales office, through an independent license sales agent authorized by CDFW (such as a local sporting goods store, large discount store, or a bait and tackle shop), online through CDFW’s Automated License Data System (ALDS), or over the telephone through CDFW’s authorized Telephone Sales agent. Telephone Sales can be reached at (800) 565-1458.
The ALDS, which is CDFW’s exclusive means of online license sales, was launched in 2011. ALDS can be accessed via CDFW’s website or by clicking the link that is frequently provided in official communications from the department. When making an online purchase, check the URL of the site you are visiting to ensure you are on the official CDFW website (www.wildlife.ca.gov) or the ALDS website (www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales). These are the only CDFW-affiliated links for hunting and fishing license sales.
Customers should be aware that there are many unofficial websites that attempt to represent the CDFW and/or contain information about hunting and fishing licenses, and Internet search engines may not always list the official CDFW website as the top result.
Be cautious when providing personal information to any website. While authorized purchases made through independent license sales agents and ALDS are subject to an additional five percent handling fee, the fraudulent sales websites offer products for sale with “shipping and handling fees” that are much higher than five percent of the base purchase price. To date, it appears that the fraudulent activity has been limited to charging customers unauthorized fees. Licenses that have been mailed to customers after unauthorized transactions may be valid; however, CDFW cannot guarantee that this is or will be true in all cases.
If you believe you may have been defrauded by an unauthorized website or would like to check the validity of a previous purchase, provide the CDFW with information about your experience at ReportFraud@wildlife.ca.gov.