By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
Mt. Pleasant businesses should be aware of an email scam hitting the area. A local business received an email this week asking to advertise for pocket-sized sports schedules for the Panther spring sports season.
The full text of the email reads like this; ?Hi Panthers Fan :), Happy Valentines day!! I?m working on the upcoming spring sports schedule cards for Mt. Pleasant High School, and wanted to check with you about being a sponsor. The pocket sized schedule cards will be in full color, they will include spring sports, and you?ll be on all 3,000 cards if you participate. Mt. Pleasant High School receives the cards for free, and you will also receive 500 cards to give out. We need to sell two ads, one for the front and one for the back. The cost of one ad is three hundred dollars, or five hundred dollars for both the front and back. Please let me know if you would like to see a previous card, and I will email it to you. You can pay for your ad after delivery if you like:)?
In an email, Mt. Pleasant athletic director Scot Lamm said he disapproves of the email being sent around and wants everyone to know the school is not at all involved.
?This is not something that the school has approved,? Lamm said. ?We print our own schedules and give them out for free.?
Kristi Ray, executive vice president of the Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance, also sent an email to The News warning of the scam. She says the chamber has reached out to the company to learn more.
The scam isn?t a new one. On Nov. 4, 2016, the Lakefield Standard in Lakefield, Minn. reported a very similar tale. Businesses around Lakeland received almost the exact same email, but the opening line read, ?Hey Huskies fan :)? as opposed to ?Hey Panthers fan :),? and the schedules were for the upcoming winter sports schedule for Jackson County Central High School.
The state of Minnesota was hit heavy with the scam in 2016. According to southernminn.com, the Janesville Minnesota Police Chief had to issue a warning to the residents of his town when the scam hit in February.
In the Minnesota cases, the email came from the same person, a ?Jane Lester.? Out-of-state schedule scams have been around for quite some time, with one case in Butte, Mont., dating all the way back to 2009, according to the Billings Gazette. The perpetrator of that scam was found out to be ?Varsity Publications, Inc.? out of Pekin, Ill., but that business was permanently closed shortly afterwards.
In the past, scammers have used both email and telephone to contact businesses, so residents should keep their head on a swivel when it comes to suspicious offers.