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Fee Phishers

The FCC has warned broadcasters and others owing regulatory fees to the FCC that there may be Internet "phishers" posing as fee collectors.

The commission said it has gotten complaints that non-governmental agencies (translation: scam artists) "may beusing Internet sites to misdirect parties seeking to submit their regulatory fee payments" in an attempt to collect financial information.

The FCC has referred the complaints to the Inspector General, but in the meantime warns fee-payers to use the FCC’s online site and accept no substitutes.

At least the commission has its priorities straight. On Friday the home page led off with a link to emergencyinformation in case of a hurricane–there are at least three tropical storms/hurricanes stacked up in theAtlantic–then reminded surfers that regulatory fees are due by close of business Thursday, Sept. 25.

In early August, the FCC proposed lowering some fees and raising others, but for the time being, cable operators have to pay 80 cents per sub and $205 for their license to operate a cable antenna relay service. TV stations owe anywhere from $71,050 for a top-market VHF to $1,800 for a small-market UHF. Low powers pay a dollar a day in regulatory fees for their license.

Oh, and don’t try to charge more than $100,000 on a credit card, the FCC warns. $99,999.99 cents is Treasury’s limit on charges.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.