BBB Serving Metro Atlanta is providing the following information as a warning. This scam has hit 22 states thus far. Currently, there are no victims in the state of Georgia and we wish to keep it that way. This information is being sent to inform and educate so schools and school districts will not fall victim to this scam. We thank BBB Serving Southern Nevada for this warning.
Perfectly timed for the back to school frenzy, on August 20th, 2014 The Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Nevada received its first complaint against Scholastic School Supply, soon after noticing a severe influx in complaints regarding the business. The tactics employed by the company are similar to the well-known “Yellow Pages Scam,” a business to business operation that surfaced in 2013, and bilked more than $14 million from small businesses and churches before being halted at the request of the Federal Trade Commission.
Consumers reaching out to the BBB allege that the operation is sending false invoices to schools and school districts throughout the country in the amount of $647.50 for a bulk purchase of text books that were never requested or received. The only contact information available on the invoices is an email address which consumers report does not respond to messages, a phone number which routes to a series of voice mail boxes, and mail drop addresses in either Sewell, New Jersey or Las Vegas, Nevada. Although the entity lists addresses in New Jersey and Nevada on its invoicing, the BBB has been unable to locate any corporation filings, business licensing, or otherwise required business entity documentation for it in either state to substantiate a physical location.
As of September 5, 2014 The BBB Serving Southern Nevada has received a total of 51 complaints from consumers located in 22 states throughout the country, as well as 2,303 inquiries regarding this scam operation. With numbers continuing to rise in increments of as many as 15 complaints a day, schools are urged to not pay the invoice, but instead to contact the Federal Trade Commission at (877) 382-4357 www.ftc.gov, the local Postal Inspectors, or Nevada State Bureau of Consumer Protection at (702) 486-3132 www.ag.nv.gov.
Additional information: BBB received the following statement from Scholastic, Inc.
“Scholastic School Supply is not affiliated with Scholastic. It is a company that is illegally using Scholastic’s name and trademark. We only recently became aware of them, but our legal department has demanded that they cease and desist using Scholastic’s name and trademark, which they have agreed to do but have not done yet. In addition, we have been investigating this company and will continue to do so, and if we determine that this company is allegedly violating any other laws, rules or regulations, we will take prompt appropriate action.”