Ohio’s anglers themselves have become the targeted catch by spammers looking to snag on-line customers.
The fraudulent sales pitch – called “phishing” in computer geek speak – is coming from a private enterprise that wants the state’s anglers to sign up for a tablet or smart-phone app. The app is being labeled “Pro Angler” and even includes the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife’s official logo.
“You're invited to download our new Ohio DNR regulations and fishing app, The Pro Angler Fishing App. With over 60,000 GPS Fishing Spots, Weekly Local Reports, and detailed guide to catching fish in Ohio. See catches near you and around the state, view regulations, boat launches and more,” the unsolicited e-mail shouts, and signed by “The Pro Angler Team.”
Just one problem: There is no credible link between the self-described Pro Angler Team and the Wildlife Division.
In fact, one for-certain take away is that on the soliciting e-mail and next to the Wildlife Division’s logo – which the agency never gave The Pro Angler permission to use – is a graphic that include an image of a largemouth bass. Yet this graphic also features what appears to be a tuna as well as a mahi-mahi; both being salt-water species.
“We’ve contacted our attorneys who are trying to reach out to these people,” said Wildlife Division spokesman John Windau. “It even has an official-looking (e-mail) address but it’s not us.”
Windau said the Wildlife Division has received a number of inquiries from Ohio anglers about the e-mail, these fishers noting that when the app is downloaded how legitimate information does appear. However, none of it is related to Ohio’s sport fishing, Windau said.
“It’s not a virus or something like that, but the anglers who call us are saying there’s really nothing about Ohio fishing,” Windau said.
Windau said that the agency does have to deal with phishing scams from time to time, though this particular instance the matter is a bit “unusual.”
When such electronic solicitations do occur it is always best to simply put the e-mail into the device’s “spam” folder.