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Scam Alert: Arkansans warned of new marketing scheme involving school athletic programs

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says a predatory marketing scheme is duping local businesses into paying hundreds of dollars for sports merchandise.

ARKANSAS, USA — A new scam in Arkansas has Attorney General Leslie Rutledge contacting school districts statewide.

Rutledge says a predatory marketing scheme is duping local businesses into paying hundreds of dollars for sports merchandise, t-shirts and athletic event items such as banners and cups by telling them the purchases help support local teams.  

These unsolicited items are often delivered directly to the athletic director or addressed to the “cheer coach” or someone similar who can never use the items, Rutledge explained. As a result, the scammed business’s merchandise remains in the box where it does not benefit the school or the local business.

“Communities rally around their school sports teams and while these scammers may seem to be cheerleaders, they are really crooks,” Rutledge said. “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.

Attorney General Rutledge issued the following warnings:

  • School districts do 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 the Attorney General's Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov. to file a complaint.

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