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Schools warned to be aware of scams for fake invoices

Company calls itself Scholastic School Supply

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 22, 2014) — Kentucky schools are being asked to be vigilant of a scam from Scholastic School Supply that invoices for books that were not ordered. The scams have targeted schools throughout the country, including at least one state school, said Attorney General Jack Conway, the Kentucky Department of Education and the Better Business Bureau.

scholastic-fraud“We want every school in Kentucky to be aware of these fraudulent invoices so that they can quickly identify and report them,” Conway said.

The bogus invoices are for $647.50 for the bulk purchase of “English-Language Arts Practice Books” or $388.50 for math workbooks.  The BBB first received a complaint on Aug. 20 and has since received 90 complaints from schools in 27 states.

“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,” said Terry Holliday, education commissioner. “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 Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau.”

Scammers often use names that are similar to well-known businesses to make their scams seem legitimate. In this case Scholastic School Supply sounds similar to Scholastic, Inc., a supplier of education materials.

Schools and other organizations should remember the following tips to avoid potential 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.
  • 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 problems.