School Books Scam

The school books scam has been around for years and seems to be making a comeback.

The scam starts when you receive a phone call from someone “thanking you” for supporting their cause and “agreeing” to advertise in a school booklet that will be distributed through local schools “of your choice”.

They claim you agreed to advertise and support them some months ago and the booklets “are now ready”.

This is of course a scam and they are lying to you, simply tell them you dont ever recall agreeing to this and that you are not interested. If they threaten legal action (very rare they normally just put the phone down) let them take you – every case we have ever heard of from visitors to this website has been thrown out of court.

262 thoughts on “School Books Scam”

  1. How do these people believe this is a way to live their life?
    I got a call in December with the same speech as you all had “thank you for supporting..”
    I asked for proof that i had but heard nothing.
    Just got an invoice for £99 from Neutral Support Ltd for Safety Awareness Campaign
    Am just in the process of composing my email to the boss now!

  2. I sent an email to this company asking for proof and also quoting “it is a criminal breach to demand payment for something I have not ordered or agreed to”. I also said don’t bother trying to intimidate me with court summons or Baliff letters.
    I was told by Manchester trading standards (who I phoned for advice) to specifically say “it is a criminal breach to…” and it obviously made them back down immediately.
    With in a hour of sending the email I recieved a phone call from Tom O’Shea at Neutral Support Ltd saying that they have checked their records and there was a mistake on the original order so they will cancel my invoice due to their error.
    He insisted that he would send a leter to me confirming this. I guess to get them out of trouble if it went to the police.
    I did ask the guy on the phone if he felt bad working for a scamming company and wondered if he should try getting a proper more productive job that didn’t try to rob people of their money. He said he had to go as he had work to do!
    scum the lot of them.
    Trading standards were very helpful. advised me what to write and then said they would report the matter to the relevant police / trading stardards department etc.
    good luck all of you and fight them all the way don’t get scared or intimidated

  3. Have been send ‘certificate’ by Teenage Information Bureau but this does not seem to exist, booklet for local school. Letter said I was a sponsor.

    Intend ignoring, address in Stockport

  4. We were contacted by Summy Meadows Ltd on Friday, 14 January 2011 and informed that we had a verbal agreement with them to take out advertising in a publication about Crime Prevention to be issued to schools. The caller bombarded us with a long speech so that you were not able to question them as to when an agreement was made. I informed them that I did not have the authority to agree to the advertising costs that they quoted and was informed that that answer ‘did not fit the script’. Despite telling them over and over that I did not want the advertsing they kept calling and preventing our clients from calling us.

    We are a small locally based charity for the disabled run by disabled volunteers and have limited funding. We are waiting for the letters informing us that they are going to take us to court. If they call you tell them to go away.

  5. Hi we were contacted by a company called Ten Alps who say that they are producing a brochure for building control (we will be one of only two advertising) at our local council (we are a renewable energy company) all sounds very interesting, no monies exchanged but very quick to confirm details and dates for going to print. Your comments here made us think twice and we contacted the local council offices to confirm the details. They say that Ten Alps DO produce publications for them at no cost and redeem their profits from the advertisers. I still feel uneasy trying to speak to council again for copy of their previous brochures to see if satisfactory. The company works out of Manchester but not able to contact direct yet. All contacts via email. Sounds too good to be true?

    Any comments appreciated.

  6. Update to my comments Ten Alps are completely legitimate spoke to Manager of Building Control in our Council offices! But thanks to this website I have learnt to take a few steps back and ask many more questions.

    Good luck to everyone.

  7. I had a phone call today from someone claiming to be from TIB (teenage information bureau) I just told them that I’ve never agreed to anything and she hung up.

  8. We were approached a while ago by Barry Twyford of UK Portfolios Ltd to advertise in a booklet that was to be handed out by the local NHS Trust to people over the age of 55 when they leave hospital. We contacted the hospital & they confirmed that an agreement was in place, we scoured the internet for any bad comments about the company, and all looked very plausible and in order.
    Well, guess what? We can’t find any evidence that the booklet has ever been printed, and the company fobbs us off and doesn’t reply to letters and so we are starting the court process to recover our money. Coincidently, we now find on the BBC News website that a chap with the same name from the same town, of about the same age was convicted in 2003 for £170,000 of Giro cheque fraud. Wish it had been available at the time. Our local solicitor fell for it as well, it shows how good conmen are.
    So, if you are approached by Barry Twyford of UK Portfolios of 40 Back Street St Annes on Sea Lancs FY8 1RD, be very wary, as you are possibly about to be scammed. He travels all over the country.

  9. I Recently got contacted by ~Ian from Excel media and to cut a long story short, I found this website after he started asking for payment and wouldnt allow me to cancel the order…Anytime i talked about cancelling he would say he would give me a call back later, after authorising a payment, i came to look them up only to find all the information here and other websites. After telling him he is a scam, he then said he would forward the details to a debt collector. I got a final demand notice from Daniels Silverman saying I had 7days to make a payment.

    Now if anyone can give any kind of heads up, that would be appreciated, would I be the first to have to pay a scam using a debt collector? http://www.emergencyservicespress.co.uk thats the only website for Excel Media. Can someone who has dealt with them please contact me and let me know?

  10. Same deal, received phony call from tib (teenage information bureau), and a follow up mocked up e-mail from –

    “office@tib-ltd.co.uk”

  11. Just had one of these. A woman who started by thanking me for my sponsorship of the “Drugs Awareness Boolket” to be distributed to local schools. She said she wanted to know which local school I wanted the booklets to be sent to. It was extremely plausible, and only the fact that I was pretty certain I would never have agreed to it in the first place made me suspicious. I think the trick was that if I had actually nominated a school then that could be taken as confirmation that I wished to advertise, and they would then have invoiced me. In the end she said she would “check with the system and phone me back if appropriate”. Surprise, surprise, no call back yet.

    Be careful. I consider myself not easily fooled, but this was very plausible.

  12. Company No. 07100629, excel media are not to be mistaken for a legitimate company excell media Company No 05139477. I think thats part of there scam to mimic a legitimate company. More publicity on the internet is needed to stop Excel Media. Why arn’t the police or trading standards doing anything about this company?

  13. This all sounds so familiar, don’t feel quite so stupid that it’s not just me. I got the bill 2 weeks ago from “Edu- care” for Right Start Books for an advetisement I allegedly agreed to last November, they basically bullied me over the phone until I agreed to their terms. I wish I had put the phone down, I was really uncomfortable and suspicious. I have decided not to pay the bill – they don’t have card details- I don’t believe its genuine and have seen no artwork. I just worry they may take me to court.

  14. Have just taken a call from a Dave Smith stating that I pre booked and advert in some school books in December last year which I did not! He stated no emails were sent and the it was all carried out over the phone. When I pushed him for evidence he ended up putting the phone down on me. Watch this one as we also took a call from a company claiming to be Ecommerce and asking whom to contact. I beleive this is how they got my name.

    Truly wish more could be done about people like this!!

  15. I to have fallen for the old advertising through schools anti -bullying campaign edu care Liverpool accent he tied me into a contract dec and within two wkd was sending invoices for £99 which I ignored as had become suspicious and no proof of what I was advertising in was sent. They sent demanding threatening letters bailiffs courts etc I then sent cheque which said did not rec?? I canc with bank and offered to pay
    credit card told broken so sent chq.
    Then today march 15th he called telling me campaign successful I said I dint want any more advertising with company he started to say I still owed him/them frm dec I started listing debt letters accountant calls and said I owe you nothing he became quite rude said he’d call again at my office I hung up !!!!

  16. a friend of mine, a small business owner in Sussex, has been scammed by Educational Media. he agreed to take one advert on a wallchart last November and has since been Pro Forma billed and money taken from his account using his credit card details half a dozen times since, each time for more money – up to around £1000 now. You have to be really on the ball to spot these things. They should not be keeping his credit card details, they should not be scamming – shout loud, shout long, why are these people still in business?

  17. My husband has just had this phone call, when he bluntly told them he didnt agree to anything and wouldn’t be paying the woman on the phone got aggressive and told him ‘children will die because of you!’
    That’s just disgusting!

  18. Just had a call today Brightstart. Of course I didn’t remember agreeing to it however I had just done a fair bit of advertising and thought it was unusual to forget what I’d agreed to. I felt suspicious after the phone call as it was a private number and here I am. Just waiting for the invoice which I may pass on to police.
    I did ask for a copy which they said I would get 6-8 weeks time why the penny didn’t drop then I don’t know…

  19. 31st March 2011 – Just had ‘Child Safety Bureau’ ring up and ask me for £189 for 5 books. very professional lady and knew all the local schools. I queried agreeing and asked for some info to be sent on the web – mainly as I drunkenly purchased £750 of art at a recent charity auction and am feeling less charitable now. Reading through this I realise I have been called by the Police advertising guys as well. Very pleased I looked into it before doing anything.

    They’re still out there people!

  20. Had a call from Sunny Meadow followed up by invoice and paperwork in the post today, including artwork they would employ in advertising. Did some research; their business is run from an end terrace just outside of Manchester. Their on-line ‘publications’ are just poor photocopies of outsourced information leaflets and there are no included adverts from subscribers. A second sheet allows you to nominate 10 friends to be included in the scheme who will be contacted by Sunny Meadow for an advertising opportunity. Pyramid scamming!! My solicitor has a copy of paperwork as well as Trading Standards.

  21. Has anyone ever been approached by T I B Limited re Promoting Sexual Health via books in Schools?

    Barbara

  22. I have received a number of these calls all from Cheshire asking us if we will advertise on Wall Charts for the Police or Firebrigade ‘again’ this year. We have never advertised with these people as it is clearly a scam. The latest call received today was for books for a drug awareness campaign for schools. We buy the books and either donate them to a school or they would deliver direct. When I asked for a copy of the book the girl said “certainly” and hung up without taking my details. The Company Name given was Data Northern and the girl claimed they were tarketing our postcode area this month which might account for the number of different calls we have received. The company details are at Companies House and surely they can be investigated if this has been going on for so many years.

  23. I have received a phone call from SAFETY SUPPORT ( Claire ) chasing for money, and discovered no records on my purchase Ledger so I have requested a copy of an Invoice,
    but they sent me a Proforma Invoice instead for “Allocation of Fire Safety for kids booklets” totalling to £299.

    Obviously no one has ordered this stuff in our company, but what made me suspicious is the fact that they put on the Invoice contact details of the manager which leaved the company 2 years ago.

  24. They are still operating – call themselves DATA Northern Ltd. Nearly got caught – just going to ask them to send confirmation of when I supposedly agreed to sponsor drug awareness books for 4/5 year olds!

  25. I had a call this morning from the ‘Children’s Drug Booklet’. I have also received calls from the Crime Prevention team and after looking on this website found out it was a scam. Luckily I would never give out my card details to anyone over the phone. I wonder if can get an address and assemble our own ‘Scam Army’ and visit these idots in person.

  26. I run a couple of small local directories in West Yorkshire and some of these idoits have either used my website or got hold of one of my mags are are targetting my customers. Not sure if there’s anything I can do except warn people and ask my customers to contact Trading standards and the police. the 2 I know about are both Liverpool based: Educational media Ltd (www.educationalmedialtd.co.uk) and BCS Multimedia (http://www.bcsmultimedia.org).
    Has anyone got a guide of what you should do if harrassed by these guys that i could send out to my customers please?

  27. We have just received an invoice from DATA northern for £99.00 for a drug awareness book for a local school we were meant to be sponsoring,we contacted the School and they have no knowledge of this,these people are getting worse and we now assume all calls of this nature are scams.

  28. My dad has been targeted by these people recently they have took about £2000.00 out of his account for various puplications i am absolutely gutted he is 79 years old and i am sick of people ripping him off. We have cancelled his card but i dont know if we will get it back from the bank.

  29. In reply to Barbara (april 14). I have been contacted by TIB about sexualy health books for schools. I knew it was sounds strange when they said they contacted me in January and I agreed. Funny seeing as though i wasn’t at work ALL january. They have now sent an invoice for £195, fat chance of them getting that!

  30. Just had a call from them, the are still pushing this Drug Awareness book. When I said I wouldn’t be interested the ignorant git just hung up on me. Seems like I had a luck escape. Why doesnt everyone just report them to Trading standards and get them closed down?

  31. Hi i am currently being targeted by safety in schools or akaan ltd, trying
    To say I Ordered books etc around six months ago. I keep getting invoices
    But I haven’t give them any money yet. Anyone else heard of these guys

  32. What a clever scam!!! I am a nurse working at a secondary school and every few months I receive a pack of booklets called “Are You Taking Drugs” pulished by D.A.T.A. Northern LTD.
    With it comes a letter to say that a local buisness has donated these drug and alchol awareness books for my school to use as a teaching aid when delivering lessons on social education. Now here is the clever bit: they ask me to send a letter of thanks to the local buisness who has sponsered the school, thanking them for the booklets. So I send the letter, local buisness is happy that I have received them and pay the invoice DATA send you.
    The booklets I get sent are A5 size with 20 pages that would probably cost £10 per 10 to print at the most. I have noticed from the pages on this site that DATA invoice anything from £99 to £700 for these booklets and the last batch I received had a total of 14 booklets.
    Even though the booklets appear quite good and I do use them to give out to young people who have drug and alcohol issues, I hate to see local companies ripped off by these people.
    DON’T BE FOOL, dont agree to it.

  33. Teenage Information Bureau still calling and verbally aggressive, although he ended up hanging up! Same old story saying that support had been agreed a few months earlier … absolutely not the case but you have to be quite confident to be sure of that. Good that recipients of these calls alert others via this site – but is there any authority to which we should be reporting them? Interesting to read on the site that the scammers may record calls and use what you say as evidence in support of their invoices if you do not firmly say ‘no’ at every opportunity.

  34. In response to Jaime Beaumont (May 31st), I have also received letter from Safety in Schools or akaan ltd claiming I agreed to sponsor books for local primary school. They have now sent me a threatening letter stating they will claim compensation for debt recovery costs. I have made no payment nor do I intend to and warn others to ignore such requests.

  35. In reponse to Jaime Beaumont (May 31st), I have also received letter from Safety in School or akaan ltd claiming I agreed to sponsor books for local primary school. I have made no payment and do not intend to.

  36. Been hassled by D.A.T.A. in Stockport. Usual stuff – Drug Awareness Book we are supposed to have advertised in. They have a recording of the boss agreeing to the advert (which I challenged them about, since it sounded like it had been spliced together!). Try to get £200 out of us. I don’t know how these people sleep at night!

  37. Hi,
    I have just been contacted on my business mobile from and “unknown number” from a company call safety first, they were asking for the business owner by name, apparently he ordered some books in January…. Funny that I answer all the calls on the mobile, not the owner, so I know he hadn’t ordered any, or even spoke to them in January. We have had a scam like this before demanding money, debt collection agencies etc, I even managed to get out of one of them a few years ago a copy of the so called booklet they reckon we advertised in. It was a joke. Something knocked together on a PC my 8 yr old could have produced something better. They never had any money, and neither will these guys. Ask details about the company, their full name and contact number, they soon hang up on you. They don’t like you having the upper hand!! good luck all!!!

  38. Hi

    I just received a phone call from a very insistent lady with a Northern accent who purported to be from TIB – Teenage Information Bureau – thanking me for my alleged support etc & referring to a mythical telephone conversation of some 4 months ago.
    I have looked at their minimalist website http://www.tib-ltd.co.uk.
    I know it’s a scam and I see that Barbara & Holly above have also been contacted by them.
    I loathe con merchants who try to abuse people’s charitable impulses but what to do?

  39. Just had a call from TIB today claiming that I had agreed to sponsor school books. I took their number and said I would call them back. I checked with the library co-ordinator for the county who had never heard of them which clinched it for me that this was a scam. I have given their address and details to Trading Standards for action. Also telephoned them and told them just what I thought of them. The full name and address is Teenage Information Bureau, Suite 1, Woodbrook Works, Turncross Lane Stockport SK1 4AR Tel 0161-480 9494. Odd how they all seem to be based in Manchester? Seems to be quite a large set up. I could hear other telephone operators in the background giving others the same talk.

  40. Okay, I hold my hand up I feel a complete idiot. I received a call from TIB lastweek on a particularly busy day at work (I am MD of a small business). They gave the script as described by so many on here, we spoke several months ago etc. Now normally I would have just cut them short but maybe because it was a busy day or maybe because my partner is a school learning resource manager and as a business we have done things to support the school previously it sounded credible. I was told the books were printed and we could expect our invoice and letters of thanks for this, did I want to nominate a school etc. I didn’t choose to nominate and she said she would pass me to her manager for varification, then said he was busy so could she take a password for later varification. Alarm bells really started ringing when I was asked for a payment by card to receive a discount. I refused and was told I would then be invoiced. Today my invoice arrived with a cheap computer printed certificate and letter of thanks. Again an offer of discount for prompt payment, interestingly despite the company having a VAT registration number (according to the letterhead) there was no VAT charged on the invoice. I then found this site and the full realisation of what a dullard I was dawned on me. So now what to do, should I pay and learn my lesson the hard way or contact trading standards and refuse to pay. I am sure now there was no previous conversation but equally I suspect they can produce a couple of page printed leaflet and send it to a local school then stating they have honoured the verbal contract we have, any ideas?

  41. Had same problem as above .Called saying they are from Safety In Schools and are demanding £250.Best bit is my name on the Invoice is wrong!Idiots!How do these people sleep at night?so wrong!

  42. I have also been contacted by the TIB today – I googled them before returning their call, read your comments and was prepared. How do we go about stopping these criminals? trading standards reads as if just for consumers who protects businesses?

  43. just had phone call saying exactatley the same as lee had saying we owed £195 For a charity that we agreed to this in march told them we hadnt they threatened us with black listing our business. told them we wanted proof either written or recorded. told us they didnt need to wish i had been on here first

  44. have just had invoice from tib after looking at what i was sent a 1 year old could do better i will not be paying and the police and trading standerds will be contacted also the school has never heard of them

  45. We’ve had numerous calls from these guys now and we’ve finally had it. Being an online marketing company we know how to fight back! We’ve created a blog post that we will rank #1 for ‘TIB Ltd’ in Google. That way we can warn people immediately when they search for the company in question.

    But we need your help! Please head on over to our post and scroll to the bottom where you can see how you can help us out rank these scammers!

    http://www.smemarketing.com/blogs/dan/tib-ltd

  46. Same experience as many of above recently – feel a bit of a twit for falling for first one as they did really good job of creating artwork etc but subsequent calls for similar stuff and using same script on phone started the doubts. Other thing you will find is that they will keep giving excuses for not sending information.

    Simplest way to deal is to simply refuse to enter into any conversation regarding advertising over the phone and request full information via email so you can investigate background but also collect evidence for later reference.

    I have sent copies of everything to both Trading Standards and The One Show this time round!

    Company names / campaign names being used are:

    – Range Publishing
    – Target Media
    – Child Safety Booklet
    – Internet Safety Website
    – Child Drug Awareness
    – Studio31 Media
    – Crime Awareness Wallchart

  47. Hi – This is about DATA Northern LTD. I have just tried to get a copy of a Drugs Awareness booklet to look at as a potential resource for a youth group I am informally connected with. Someone I know recently had a call to remind them they had earlier pledged to sponsor £200 towards its publication. They couldn’t remember that call but they decided to give the woman the benefit of the doubt because of the subject matter. Anyway, they thought it might be of interest to me. I rang the number on the website and got put through to 3 separate people. I asked each one for a copy and was met by an absolute barrage of questions about why I wanted it, which school was it for, which group was it for and the woman said she didn’t want the DATA name endorsing anything they did not know everything about. That sounded fair, so I gave them my name and address but even that was not enough. I said I was looking for something I might want to use for a youth group but I didn’t want to say which one because it was not that formalised as yet. Even that was not enough. The woman was so completely obstructive that I ended up saying “look don’t bother about it, I’ll get something from somewhere else.” I have come online because I was so taken aback by their attitude and it left me feeling anxious about having given them my name and address. Sadly, this website has confirmed my suspicions. My poor friend who sponsored them!

  48. Received a call from Data Northern just today asking telling me about their successful campaign with schools and “did I remember him speaking to me a month ago” or so. I demanded full details of Data Northern and he refused to provide them – said he could provide full details in the post. Jokers, reported to Trading Standards too. Scammers.
    Similar scam tried with us and a “police” publication a few years ago.

  49. Just had a call from a Steve Curran of the Met Police re: advertising in their REACT Campaign drugs awareness books being sent to schools.
    I asked for a number to call him back and he quickly hung up, saying he’d call again tomorrow.

    We were caught by both these and by Child Protection UK last year and after smelling a rat then are ready and waiting for them now!
    Apart from their rather aggressive phone manner once they are trying to get your money, they are pretty convincing!

    I’m about to report it to Trading Standards

  50. Just received my second call of the week from Steve Curran of the Met Police and this time asked him for his number, so we could call him back

    He gave me an 0800 number, which funnily enough wasn’t recognised when I called it back.

    Didn’t have the heart to tell him I’ve reported all this Action Fraud and Trading Standards as I’ll see how long I can string him along for.
    But Trading Standards just said “ah yes, we know that address” when I gave them the address details from the last invoices!

    Feel so angry that we’ve been duped and they are now actively targeting us again!

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