Fraud & Scams

Don’t Fall for Fake Subscription Renewal Emails

Cameron Huddleston
Cameron Huddleston
March 19, 2024
Don’t Fall for Fake Subscription Renewal Emails

If you get an email prompting you to renew any subscriptions you have, don’t click any links in the email. It could be a scam.

The Better Business Bureau has received reports of scammers who are impersonating businesses and trying to trick consumers into paying to renew subscriptions with those businesses. The renewal requests appear legitimate because scammers have been targeting actual customers. So, it’s important to be able to recognize these phishing emails to avoid becoming a victim of this subscription renewal scam.

[ See: What Is Phishing and How to Avoid It ]

How the subscription renewal scam works

According to BBB, scammers have been sending emails that appear to come from a variety of subscription- and membership-based businesses. The emails contain company logos and claim that subscriptions or memberships with those companies have expired. 

To renew their subscriptions or update their payment information, recipients are prompted to click on links within the email or to call a specific customer service number. In some cases, the emails even offer a discount to those who renew promptly.

However, the links direct consumers to fake websites that aim to steal credit card information. And the customer service phone numbers don’t connect with legitimate businesses. 

How to avoid subscription renewal scams

Email has become the most common method scammers are using to target victims, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Following these steps can help you avoid subscription renewal email scams as well as other phishing scams.

Review emails carefully. Even if an email appears to come from a company you do business with, look closely for red flags. First, check the sender’s email address to see if it is associated with the company’s web address or if it appears to come from elsewhere, such as a gmail or other personal email account. Hover your mouse over any links in the email to see whether they are directing you to fake websites or sites that aren’t affiliated with the company that supposedly sent the email. Also, look for misspellings, poor grammar and awkward sentence structure that would signal that a scammer sent the email. 

Don’t click on links in emails. Go directly to the website of the company where you have an account to log in and check your account status. Or, find the company’s phone number on its website rather than calling a customer service number provided in an email. 

Keep track of subscription renewal dates. When you sign up for a service, mark the subscription renewal date on your calendar to keep track of when you need to make a payment or cancel your subscription. This can help you determine whether renewal notices you receive are fake. 

Be wary of requests for particular forms of payment.  Legitimate business won’t insist that you make a payment with a wire transfer, cryptocurrency, money transfer app or a gift card from another retailer. 

Report phishing emails. Your email provider might provide the option to report emails as spam (for example, you can click on the icon with an exclamation point in gmail to mark emails as spam). You also can forward phishing emails to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at, then delete the emails.

[ Keep Reading: What Is Account Takeover Fraud? ]

Cameron Huddleston

Cameron Huddleston

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