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Officials warn of scam involving fake invoices for school supplies

Oregon schools that receive invoices for textbooks and workbooks from the fake Scholastic School Supply company should chuck the documents in the trash and file a report about the junk mail with the Oregon Department of Justice.

Better Business Bureau officials said the name is similar to the publisher Scholastic, a legitimate company that sells books and other educational materials. The company released a statement to its customers saying it is aware of the situation and is following up.

"Scholastic recently became aware of this company and its actions, and has demanded that they cease and desist using Scholastic's name and trademark, which they have agreed to do, but they seemingly have not done so as of the date of this communication," the statement reads.

The scam started in Washington state in mid-August but has since spread to Oregon, with recent reports filed by Azalea Middle School in Brookings and from the Hermiston School District. The bogus invoices are for $647.50. The BBB said in a news release that phone calls to the numbers on the documents lead to a voicemail saying it will be a bit before a company representative returns the call, as it is a busy time of year. Emails are not replied to.

Sometimes, the paperwork lists the company headquarters as being out of New Jersey or Las Vegas, but no corporate filings, business licensing or other necessary documents are available.

So far, none of the schools that have filed complaints have made payments to the scammers, BBB officials said. They added schools should be on the lookout for the invoices and, as a common rule, should always check out companies before sending payments.

Anyone wishing to file a complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice should visit

www.doj.state.or.us/consumer/Pages/index.aspx.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.