Be Alert For Sports Banner Scam


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If you or your business get a call from a toll-free number asking you to buy a banner to support a Verona High School sports team, you might want to report it to the Verona Police. There’s a very good chance it’s a scam.

Bob Merkler, the director of athletics and special programs for Verona Public Schools, has alerted sports booster groups to a suspicious call received by one Verona business, and to another potential scam involving a t-shirt company looking for donations to help Caldwell High School sports programs.

Verona’s many sports boosters groups are run by people who live here and who have kids on Verona’s sports teams. An appeal for football is likely to come from Mark Riggio of the 5th Downers, while one for baseball could be from Sam Zamloot. Outreach by the VHS Sports Boosters, which is the umbrella organization for all high school sports, may come from Michele Kiernan or Christina Chivily.

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There’s one other thing that’s a dead giveaway that you’re being targeted by a scam, says Kathleen Seubert, a VHS Sports Boosters board member. “The local sports boosters, like Verona Music Parents and the Spotlight Players, do not solicit donations through the phone,” she says. “Their notices come home in your child’s packet.”

Merkler is asking for the public’s help in getting the word out on the scams. “Please be sure,” he says, “to let the businesses that donate to the booster clubs know about this activity so that they, and our booster clubs, are not hurt by this.”

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


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