Scammers Claim to Sell Ads for Kent Chamber Map
Phone solicitors are asking Kent businesses to buy ad space on a nonexistent city, county map
Kent business owners should answer their phones cautiously during the next few weeks.
The Kent Area Chamber of Commerce has been fielding phone calls and emails all day from business owners who say they've been solicited by a scammer to buy ads on a fake map.
The scam is not new. Kent folks have been getting these calls for a few years now — almost like clockwork.
"It was about this time last year that people were calling," Kent Area Chamber of Commerce Director Lori Wemhoff said. "And last year it wasn’t just summer. There were a couple times throughout the year it was happening."
On a few calls, the solicitor identified themself as working for Premier Maps selling ad space on a map of Portage County and Kent on behalf of the chamber.
So far, businesses contacted include Home Savings Bank, Huntington Bank, Hampton Inn and Coleman Professional Services. Huntington Bank President John Ryan said in an email to Wemhoff the scammer offered to make Huntington the exclusive bank on the map.
Wemhoff said the chamber hasn't published a map of Kent since before 2008. She reiterated the fact the chamber is not doing any such project and warns businesses not to fall prey to the scam.
"We are not doing it," she said. "I would never go into an agreement on something like that without definitely letting the membership know."