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Businesses warned about third-party solicitors for schools, sports teams

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CONCORD - New Hampshire's Attorney General's office is warning New Hampshire citizens and businesses about a new scam in which third-party solicitor claim to be selling advertisements or soliciting donations on behalf of local schools or sports teams.

The AG's office has received numerous reports over the last two years related to these types of scams, targeting six school districts. As a result, New Hampshire businesses have been conned out of hundreds and even up to $1,000.

Generally these reports involve a the third-party solicitation company which contacts a business through email or by phone and claims to be working on behalf of a local school sports team to raise money for the coming season. The third-party company will then ask the local business to purchase advertising on promotional items, such as banners or posters with the promise that these items will be distributed in the local school or displayed at school events and sports games.

However, in these cases, the school district has not authorized the company to solicit in its name and there is no legitimate connection between the third-party company and the school. The solicitation company simply keeps any money sent by the business and no products or advertisements are provided.

Many local businesses and school districts across the state have been the target of similar scams in recent years. Businesses and individuals who receive fundraiser solicitations from third-party companies should contact the school to verify that the solicitation has been approved by the school. These businesses and individuals should also verify that any funds raised through the solicitation will directly benefit the school before making any payments to third-party fundraising solicitors. Businesses and individuals that receive suspicious fundraising solicitations should contact their local school district and the Attorney General's Office.

Anyone who has encountered suspicious solicitations such as these or others is encouraged to file a complaint with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau at: https://www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints/index.htm or by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-468-4454.

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