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BC News

Scam claims false affiliation with Bethlehem Central Schools

District officials warn residents to be suspicious if approached

Bethlehem Central School District officials recently learned about an ongoing scam that leads district residents and local businesses to believe they are donating money to BC athletics programs.

Through the scam, a company, which has gone by the names Signature Sports and Sports Media, tells residents it is printing sports calendars or posters and offers individuals or businesses the opportunity to sponsor BC athletics programs. Neither the Bethlehem Central School District nor the High School Athletics Department has any affiliation or contract with any such vendor.

"The bottom line is that school district officials will never ask for credit card or banking information," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mike Tebbano. "If you are approached to donate money in this manner, be suspicious."

The company operates by soliciting and setting up direct charges to the sponsor's bank account, and then debiting or charging these accounts annually. The district first learned of the scam when a resident called to inquire about a nearly $100 debit from her bank account in the name of BCSD. At least one local business has also been affected.

According to Bethlehem police, the company generates billing statements that appear to be legitimate to the consumer. The invoice, however, has fine print on the bottom indicating it is not affiliated with any school district.

If you have been targeted as part of this scam, consider visiting the Attorney General’s Complaint Resource Center where you can file a consumer complaint if you believe a business is acting fraudulently or deceptively. The Complaint Resource Center can be found here: http://www.ag.ny.gov/resource_center/complaints/complaints.html.

The district also suggests residents call the Athletics Department to verify sports-related fundraisers, which includes activities by the Bethlehem Central Athletic Association. The Athletics Department can be reached at (518) 439-4921, ext. 22113.