Several upstate New York districts now report receiving the deceptive invoice
Last week, Better Business Bureau serving Upstate New York warned school districts to be on the lookout for fake invoices from Scholastic School Supply. This week, 10 districts, mainly located in the Southern Tier, told BBB they did receive the invoices. BBB advises all school districts to review all invoices carefully and verify before payments are made.
Scholastic Inc., after being notified of the situation, released a statement saying Scholastic School Supply is not affiliated with Scholastic Inc., and the former has demanded the latter cease and desist from using the Scholastic name.
Districts that reached out to BBB forwarded copies of the invoice they received from Scholastic School supply in the amount of $647.50 for a bulk purchase of textbooks that were never requested or received.
The only contact information available on the invoices is an email address school districts report does not respond to messages, a phone number which routes to a series of voice mailboxes, and mail drop addresses in either Sewell, New Jersey, or Las Vegas. Although the entity lists addresses in New Jersey and Nevada on its invoicing, 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.
BBB Serving Southern Nevada has received dozens of daily complaints and thousands of inquiries since the phony invoicing started. School districts are urged to not pay the invoice, but instead to contact the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or at ftc.gov, or the local postal inspector.
BBB offers tips to spot a phony invoice:
•Read all invoices and solicitations sent to your business/organization carefully. Check account numbers and the name of the company sending you an invoice. If you do receive a bill that may appear to be from a legitimate company, look it over carefully for the name and location of the company sending the bill.
•Channel all invoices through one department. Clear all invoices with the appropriate employees.
•Know your billing. Familiarize yourself with the format of bills regularly sent to you by other companies. Do not be alarmed by language indicating you must pay the bill or that an unpaid bill will be forwarded to a collection agency. If your business did not place an order with the company, you are not responsible for paying the bill. To prevent your business/organization from paying a bill it does not owe, educate all of your staff - especially those responsible for paying routine bills - about the variety of scams involving phony invoices and solicitations.
•Do a basic Internet search. Search the name of the company sending you an invoice to see if others are reporting similar issues or other problems.
Districts that received the phony invoice include Albion Central, Fredonia Central, Scio Central, Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central, Saratoga Springs Central, Frewsburg Central, Allegany-Limestone Central, Bemus Point Central, Brocton Central and Panama Central.