AUBURN — Ken Goodman said he didn’t think too much about the phone call until he hung up.

It seemed simple enough: A company was soliciting for advertising to be used on a high school sports schedule. The co-owner of Goodman Wiper & Paper, a well-established, family-owned business in New Auburn, had answered similar calls before.

He kindly declined Monday’s request, the same as all of the others, by informing the young person on the other end of the line that he gives to the high school in other ways. Thanks, but no thanks. After hanging up, a realization hit him and he immediately called Edward Little High School’s athletic department.

“(The organization) didn’t name themselves, but it sounded kind of fishy,” Goodman said. “Especially when they called it Little Edward High School instead of Edward Little High School.”

Goodman is yet another of dozens of area business owners who have been contacted over the past several years by companies claiming to produce sports schedules for Edward Little High School and seeking advertising money.

Dan Deshaies, athletic director at Edward Little High School, said companies have been working the same scam on area businesses for more than five years. He said the school department produces its own sports schedules and warned business owners not to pay invoices or agree to advertising over the phone, unless the request comes from Auburn School Department.

“We’ve authorized no group to do sports schedules for us,” Deshaies said. “No group should be making money on Edward Little High School.”

Deshaies provided the Sun Journal with copies of invoices sent to area businesses demanding payments between $89.50 and $129. Some invoices read like first statements, while others are more threatening.

Letters, invoices and mailing addresses for payments have originated throughout the country. Companies include Signature Sports, High School Boosters LLC and School Booster Co., and hail from Philadelphia, Boston and Portland, Maine, and from as far away as Albuquerque, N.M.

“It has come to my attention that you have an outstanding balance of $89.50 on your account for the sponsor advertising,” read a letter sent to one business from School Booster Co., of Boston. “When our company did not receive your payment, it is of the utmost concern that we have done something to cause you to ignore the past due notices.”

Goodman pointed out that businesses must pay attention when paying bills and closely examine invoices from unfamiliar companies. Auburn police Lt. Tim Cougle agreed. He said the department is planning to meet with Deshaies to discuss the scam.

Cougle said that catching scam artists is tough because they blanket businesses with invoices and hope somebody pays the bill without closely examining it.

“It’s a challenge to try and prosecute these people, or at least even track them down,” Cougle said. “It is challenging, and the best way to deal with it is to make the public aware of it so that they’re not victimized.”

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