CDFW Warns of Continued Fraudulent License Sales Operations

If you are in the market for a California fishing or hunting license (or any related products, such as hunting tags), please ensure that you are making your purchase from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) or an approved vendor.

Several unauthorized online websites are continuing to improperly charge customers extra fees for online fishing and hunting license purchases, and may be collecting sensitive personal information as part of their unauthorized transactions.

California hunting and fishing licenses may properly be purchased in only one of four ways:

Because CDFW’s license sales offices and some independent license sales agent offices have been temporarily closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19, there has been a surge in online sales over the summer months. Unscrupulous website operators and scammers are taking advantage of increased virtual traffic, and the public should take extra precautions to ensure they do not fall victim to a scam.

Since June 2019, six websites offering unauthorized license sales have been taken down at CDFW’s behest, and an additional two websites are in the process of being disabled.

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, please check the URL of the site you are visiting to ensure you are on the official CDFW website ( or the ALDS website ( These are the only CDFW-affiliated links for hunting and fishing license sales.

Unofficial websites may attempt to represent 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.

Please 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 5 percent handling fee, the fraudulent sales websites offer products for sale with “shipping and handling fees” that are much higher than 5 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, please provide us with information about your experience at


Media Contacts:
Stephen Adams, CDFW Information Systems Branch, (916) 323-1456
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

Fishing for Holiday Ideas? Buy a 2011 License for Your Favorite Angler

Media Contacts:
Richard Reyes, DFG License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-6899
Kyle Orr, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8958

Public contact:
Glenn Underwood (916) 928-5841

If you’re looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for the angler in your life, the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has a suggestion. Beginning Jan. 1, anglers 16 years of age and older will need a new annual sport fishing license to take or pursue any fish, shellfish, reptile or amphibian in California (including catch-and-release fishing) in 2011. And this holiday season, DFG’s new real-time Automated License Data System (ALDS) is streamlining the process and making it easier than ever to give a gift that will bring joy year-round.

Especially developed for DFG, ALDS provides customers with immediate access to DFG’s license inventory, which in most cases eliminates the need to visit a DFG office or to wait for your license to arrive in the mail. The new system is now in place at DFG license sales offices and at select license agent locations (for a list of these locations, please visit ALDS will be implemented at other locations statedwide by early January 2011.

To buy a license for yourself or someone else, you must be able to provide all required information, including date of birth, address, phone number and physical description. If you want to buy a license for someone else but don’t have all of their required information, you can also purchase a gift license voucher at a point-of-sale site and the recipient can exchange it for an annual 2011 sport fishing license. Vouchers are available from any ALDS agent.

The 2011 sport fishing licenses can also be purchased online at At this time, vouchers are not available for online purchase.

A California sport fishing license offers a full year of more fishing opportunities than any other state in the country. California has 1,100 miles of ocean coastline, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs, 29,664 miles of streams and rivers, and 1,800 miles of bay and Delta waters. A sport fishing license is an angler’s passport to these amazing opportunities.

In addition to native fresh and saltwater fish, the DFG trout hatcheries will plant roughly 7 million rainbow trout in 2011 and salmon hatcheries annually release more than 20 million young salmon. Those are millions of reasons to give the angler on your holiday gift list a 2011 California Sport Fishing License.

Anglers 16 years or older are required to have a valid sport fishing license to take any kind of fish, mollusk, invertebrate or reptile (except for rattlesnakes).

Along with a sport fishing license, the DFG California Fishing Passport Program challenges anglers to fish their way around the state in search of 150 different fish and shellfish species. And like a traveler’s passport book, for each successful catch, participants will receive special stamps in their books to mark their accomplishments.

For more information about the Passport Program, please visit To learn more about ALDS, please visit