Gulfport real estate office falls victim to fundraising scam

Gulfport real estate office falls victim to fundraising scam

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Tiffany Burgess runs the Exit Realty offices in Gulfport and when she was contacted this summer about helping fund Gulfport High School spirit days and pep rallies, she was glad to pitch in.

"I was on the cheerleading team in high school and know those things cost a bit of money to put on," Burgess said.

She received an email offering a chance to have her company's logo put on 2,000 shirts to be worn by Gulfport High students.

"For $300 it seemed like a great deal," Burgess said.

Following a string of email correspondence with a company called Sport's-N-Stuff, Burgess agreed to pay for the ad space.

"We received a logo proof in our email and signed off on the logo proof and sent it back and never heard from anybody again," Burgess said.

The ads never appeared on any shirts. Then, Burgess saw others on Facebook saying the same thing had happened to them.

"All of our contacts for things like that, any kind of fundraising or donations we do are normally going to be through our booster club," East said. "They're going to normally be face to face contact, it may be a student or followed up with a phone call from a parent or a booster club member," said Gulfport School District Superintendent Glen East.

Burgess has tried to get her money back, but when she called the listed numbers on the email she received a message saying the numbers were no longer in service. Also, the website listed on the emails, isn't found.

So although she's out of $300, she has learned a lesson.

"Next time I think what will be done is a meeting in person so that you know that it's involved with a school," Burgess said.

East recommends contacting the school district and make sure any fundraising or support efforts are legitimate offers.

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