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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Nov 5, 2014

The Arizona Republic and several other newspapers circulating in America have been caught in a subscription-renewal scheme. The scheme has sought hundreds of dollars from customers alongside sensitive credit-card and other personal information.

Gannett Co., Inc. is in the process of warning their customer base that any renewal notices sent out recently are likely fraudulent. The company is warning customers not to send payment to a Mail Processing Department in White City, Ore.

The fraudulent renewal notices are tied to a company called Readers Payment Service, who have sent thousands of “notice of renewal/new order” forms. These forms were offering The Republic at about 20 percent of its annual cost.

The Republic recorded dozens of customer complaints earlier this week. The large volume of complaints has prompted an email campaign, newspaper officials sending scam advisories to customers. Officials have also updated a subscription phone line that makes note of the bogus renewal notices, further keeping customers informed.

As for customers who have already written checks for the bogus subscription, they’re being advised to cancel those payments. Those who have already had the money withdrawn from their accounts will need to dispute the charges with their credit-card companies and banks.

As reported earlier, many other major circulations have been impacted by the fraud. The scam also targeted another local circulation, the Phoenix Business Journal. Other Gannett-owned properties were hit in California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, New York, Ohio and Texas – now similarly advising their customer base about the fraud.

Records show that the direct-mail scam stems back to 2008, a time in which Readers Payment Service offered overpriced subscriptions using a Reno post-office box as the return address. Digital paper trails revealed that the same address was utilized by another company called Magazine Billing Services.

For a list of targeted newspapers and original report, visit AZ Central.