Better Business Bureau: Phony invoice scam targeting schools

CONTACT: Lisa Schiller, Media Relations

PHONE: 414- 847- 6055

FAX: 414-302- 0355

E-MAIL: [email protected]

Milwaukee, Wis. – The Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin is warning all schools to be on the lookout for phony invoices coming from “Scholastic School Supply” with a Nevada address.

Perfectly timed for the back to school frenzy, The Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Nevada received its first complaint against Scholastic School Supply on August 20th. Soon after, it noticed a severe influx in complaints regarding the business.

To date, 51 complaints have been received from schools in 22 states throughout the country, as well as 2,303 inquiries regarding this scam operation.

Complaints allege that the company 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.

According to the BBB Serving Southern Nevada, the tactics employed by Scholastic School Supply 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.

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.

With complaint 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 FTC at (877) 382-4357 http://www.ftc.gov, local Postal Inspectors, or Nevada State Bureau of Consumer Protection at (702) 486-3132 http://www.ag.nv.gov.

For an online version of the story click here: http://www.bbb.org/wisconsin/news-events/bbb-scam-alerts/2014/09/phony-invoice-scam-targeting-schools/

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at http://www.bbb.org/wisconsin or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), 608-268-2221 (Madison) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin). Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Twitter, Facebook and You Tube.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org/wisconsin. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 112 local, independent BBBs across North America, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. BBB Serving Wisconsin was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.