Coachella Valley Region
Scam artist claiming to be with the Coachella Valley Unified School District are costing some families thousands of dollars.
It starts with a phone call or knock on the door.
"What they have done is approach our parents about purchasing some educational materials. Unfortunately those materials are, you know, not worth the DVD’s that they are printed on," say Dr. Darryl Adams, superintendent with the Coachella Valley Unified School District.
The CVUSD says the company behind the scheme is called Education Multimedia in conjunction with a second company called Exit Financial.
Some of the DVD’s don’t even work.
"Unfortunately though, our parents have been tricked into signing off and purchasing them. When they realize what’s going on they will try to call and cancel but they are told they can’t cancel," said Adams.
When parents refuse to pay for the DVD’s they’re taken to small claims court and their bill doubles. The cases were dismissed in court after representatives with Exit Financial did not attend the hearing.
For victims, the fraud has taken a financial and emotional toll.
"It affects us emotionally because we bought the encyclopedia for our children because we hoped it would help them get better grades and when we found out what they sold us they didn’t work, it hurt," said Jeni Villavicencio.
The C.V.U.S.D says they are getting to the bottom of the scam.
"We’re reaching out to law enforcement and the district attorney to ascertain what we can do about this to put an end to it. We’re definitely informing our parents, warning them and we’re sending out the alarm to all districts to take a really good look at this and make sure their parents are aware," Adams said.