Con artists scamming locals |

Con artists scamming locals

Eric Rineer

— Something is rotten in Steamboat Springs.

Recently, some local businesses have been fielding calls from people purporting to be representatives for Steamboat Springs High School. Those people, however, have nothing to do with the high school.

The perpetrators, who are still at large, make phone calls to Steamboat businesses asking them if they would like to place an advertisement into a sports calendar calendars, in fact that never get printed.

Several weeks ago, high school Athletics Director Steve Moos was contacted by Steamboat Motors general manager John Centner, who had received such a phone call.

Centner was skeptical about the call because, about two years ago, he had sent a check to a company that claimed to be producing spring sports calendars for the high school.

That check, however, was apparently pocketed by the con artists who never printed the calendars.

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The check was for nearly $100.

“It’s very upsetting,” Centner said.

“It makes us somewhat leery of wanting to support other organizations that may be legitimate.”

Last month, Centner received a call possibly by the same company who scammed Steamboat Motors two years ago.

This time, Centner asked the person making the call if there was a contact with whom he could speak to at the high school.

The individual could not name a contact, Centner said.

“That kind of set up the red flag,” Centner said. “The next thing I did was call Steve (Moos) at that point.”

Moos, who has received a number of calls in the past several weeks from local businessmen reporting they have been solicited by people claiming to be making calendars, faxed a recent letter warning Steamboat businesses about the scam.

The letter states the high school is not in any way involved with a company that claims to be producing calendars for the school’s athletics program.

All of the high school’s fund raising is conducted through the Steamboat Springs High School Booster Club or through local coaches or sponsors of groups, Moos said.

Ernie Jenkins, booster club president, said it was upsetting to hear that the con artists had returned. Jenkins provided a list of fund raisers so that businesses can tell which events are associated with the booster club.

Booster club fund raisers include:

A summer golf-a-thon at the Sheraton Golf Course.

A McDonald’s pancake breakfast in March.

A $15 booster club membership fee for families, or $50 fee for businesses to join the booster club.

Concession sales at high school sporting events.

Annual physicals for Sailor athletes. Each year, volunteers from the Steamboat Medical Group provide high school athletes with a physical at a low price. The money generated from the physicals is donated to the booster club.

Barbara Read, communications director at the Mountain States Better Business Bureau, offered a few tips of advice to local businesses to help them avoid getting fooled by fake companies that pretend to be associated with Steamboat Springs High School: Whenever a caller states that he or she is associated with a fund raiser at the high school, contact the school and ask if the call is legitimate. Ask for a published copy of the distribution. If the company will not provide it, do not agree to anything. Never pay for something that you did not order. Sometimes fake companies will place an ad into a calendar without a business’ prior consent. An invoice is then mailed to the business for a specified amount. For more information, call the Mountain States Better Business Bureau at (970) 224-4222.

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