Attorney General Linda Kelly has cautioned schools and school districts of scam artists who promise schools that they can have celebrities or sports starts present assemblies on popular topics such as cyberbullying. Kelly said these scam artists accept payment for the assemblies and then cancel at the last minute and fail to provide refunds.
“It is especially important that our schools, which may already be experiencing budgetary constraints, be cognizant of who they entrust their money and with whom they do business,” Kelly said.
The specific details of the assembly scams can vary, but nearly every one promises celebrities, well known to children, who appear on popular children’s networks such as Nickelodeon, or professional athletes to appear at the school for anti-bullying programs. The scammers will promise schools at least an hour with the celebrity as well as opportunity for students to have pictures taken and autographs signed.
“The expensive reality of these scams is that schools are paying up to $1,000 for assemblies with celebrities and athletes, who have never even heard of their school, only to later learn that their assembly has been cancelled and their money gone,” Kelly said.
School Districts who believe they may have been a victim of a scam are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection and file a complaint. Complaints may be filed online at www.attorneygeneral.gov or by calling the consumer help line at (800) 441-2555.
The Office of Attorney General has created educational programs to help schools, parents and communities empower children with knowledge to keep them safe. These programs feature customized lesson plans, interactive learning activities and powerful messages that speak directly to kids and adults. They are free-of-charge, and speakers are available to visit schools and community groups to discuss these important subjects, which include online safety, cyberbullying, drugs, and gun violence.
Kelly encouraged schools who wish to schedule cyberbullying programs or other assemblies to contact the Attorney General’s Education and Outreach Unit at (800) 525-7642.
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