Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is contacting school districts statewide to warn them of a predatory marketing scheme that dupes local businesses into paying hundreds of dollars for sports merchandise, t-shirts and athletic event items such as banners and cups.
These scammers tell businesses that the promotional products help sponsor or support their local teams, but the scammers are the only ones winning money in this game.
"Communities rally around their school sports teams and while these scammers may seem to be cheerleaders - they are really crooks," said Rutledge. "Preying on the generosity of Arkansans is unacceptable and hurts our legitimate businesses' ability to support their local schools, boosters and charitable organizations. I will not let scam artists win this game."
The AG's office has received reports of an out-of-state company that is using predatory and deceptive tactics to sell local businesses promotional items that are promised to support local schools and their booster clubs. These unsolicited items are often delivered directly to the Athletic Director or simply addressed to the "Cheer Coach" or someone similar who can never use the items. As a result, the scammed business's merchandise remains in the box where it does not benefit the school or the local business.
Rutledge issued the following warnings:
- School districts should not accept unsolicited "gifts" of spirit wear such as banners, posters, footballs and stadium cushions.
- Contact your local school's athletic program or booster club to confirm that any items you are ordering are going to support the school's programs.
- Get confirmation from the school that the items you ordered were delivered.
- A school's name, insignia and sports team logo are often trademarked. Unauthorized use can result in civil liability.
If your business has been scammed contact our office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov to file a complaint.