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Scam Targeting Area Schools
Updated September 30, 2014 7:07 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(UNDATED) - Better Business Bureau serving Louisville, Southern Indiana, and Western KY has teamed up with Attorney General Jack Conway and the Kentucky Department of Education to warn local school districts about a scam targeting schools throughout the country.

"BBB has heard from schools and school districts across the country that have received this phony invoice, including schools in both Kentucky and Indiana," said Charles Mattingly, President and CEO, Better Business Bureau. " The scammers are maliciously sending this invoice at exactly the time when schools are likely to be paying for legitimate book orders.

BBB first received a complaint on August 20, 2014, and since has received 90 complaints from schools in 27 states. Attempts to contact the company have failed. Additionally, the phony invoices list an address in either Las Vegas, NV or Sewell, NJ, which are both mail drops. The bogus invoices are for $647.50 for the bulk purchase of "English-Language Arts Practice Books" or $388.50 for math workbooks.

"Schools are receiving invoices for textbooks they didn't order," Attorney General Conway said. "It's troubling that scammers are preying on schools and attempting to steal taxpayer money used to pay for the resources needed to help educate our children. We want every school in Kentucky to be aware of these fraudulent invoices so that they can quickly identify and report them."

At a time when our schools are undertaking massive reforms to better prepare children for success in college and careers, it is unfortunate they now have to contend with scam artists who seek to undermine their work and the progress of Kentucky's children," Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said. "I urge school personnel to be vigilant in examining all vendor invoices to ensure they are legitimate before paying them, and ask them to report any suspicious invoices to the Kentucky General's Office and Better Business Bureau.

In an invoice scam, the scammer generally sends a phony invoice hoping the organization will pay before realizing it never ordered or received the products. Scammers often use names that are similar to well-known businesses to make their scams seem legitimate. In this case, the fake invoices are from Scholastic School Supply, a name similar to Scholastic, Inc., a supplier of education materials. Scholastic, Inc. has issued a statement regarding the fraudulent use of their name and trademarks.

Schools and other organizations should remember the following tips to avoid scams:

  • Encourage your financial staff to watch for invoice scams.
  • Make sure the invoice is coming from a valid source.
  • Check out the company that is sending the invoice. Go to
  • Centralize purchasing and billing so that the person or persons paying the invoices know what was ordered and who the vendors are.
  • Do a basic internet search to see if other organizations have reported similar issues.

Do not pay suspicious invoices. Report them to the BBB at 1-800-388-2222 and Attorney General Conway's Office of Consumer Protection at 888-432-9257.

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