Press Release submitted by the Better Business Bureau
Quincy, Ill., Sept. 26, 2018 – Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning business owners to be wary of companies offering advertising opportunities tied to local school or civic organizations.
BBB has received complaints from business owners who said they sent money to have their company name or logo on items that will be distributed at high school athletic contests or community events, but items were not delivered and they did not receive refunds from the company that sold the advertising to them.
Several businesses in the Edina, Missouri, area recently were contacted about buying advertising to be placed on sports bottles. The bottles would be distributed by cheerleaders at Knox County High School athletic events. The seller told the business they were working with the Knox County School District.
The Edina business was offered various price levels ranging from $430 to $1,620. The business opted not to participate.
“We thought they might not be legitimate because they didn’t know how to say Edina,” the business owner told BBB.
School officials confirmed on social media it had no association with the company.
Mara Clingingsmith, regional director of BBB’s Quincy office, said a couple of simple steps can help save business owners from losing money in one of these schemes.
“If someone tells you they are working with your local school district or chamber of commerce, take the caller’s information and tell them you will call them back,” Clingingsmith said. “Then reach out to your local leaders to see if they are working with a company on advertising. If the organization can’t confirm they have an arrangement, then it’s likely the seller is working on their own.”
- If you’ve been the target of a scam or lost money to a scammer, report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker.
- BBB offers the following tips on how to avoid scams:
- Do not use a wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift card to complete a transaction with a stranger.
- Pay by credit card whenever possible in case you need to challenge the payment for non-delivery of the product.
- If someone claims to be representing a school or organization, call those groups to confirm.
- Avoid high-pressure sales tactics.
- Don’t believe everything you see or hear. Scammers can fake caller ID numbers to make it seem like they are someone else. They also mimic official seals and other symbols. Just because something looks official, it doesn’t mean that it is. Make sure to check other resources like BBB and your state’s attorney general’s office.
BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information.