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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 27, 2006
Consumer Alert: Software Company Fraudulently Marketing to Hispanics

YAKIMA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today warned consumers that a software salesman for Brainstorm USA has contacted Spanish-speaking parents in the Yakima School District, fraudulently claiming to be associated with the district.

The Yakima School District notified the Attorney General’s Office in fall that a salesperson associated with Brainstorm USA obtained a list of student phone numbers and parent names. The salesperson then contacted Spanish-speaking families and falsely indicated he was affiliated with the district in order to gain access to their homes. The Yakima School District has no affiliation with Brainstorm USA or its merchandise.

The Attorney General’s Office has received several consumer complaints since 2001 regarding Brainstorm USA, which lists an address in Atlanta, GA. The most recent complaint was received last month and involved a Spanish-speaking Union Gap resident who paid nearly $3,200 for software, believing he was actually buying a computer.

The Attorney General’s Office investigated a similar scam in 2003 that targeted Hispanic families with limited English language fluency in Wenatchee and Tri-Cities. Sales representatives of A+ Computer Program USA claimed to be associated with local schools and knew the names of children in the families, which schools they attended and what grade they were in. About two dozen families who purchased defective computers and educational software from the company received refunds.

Consumers who have purchased items from Brainstorm USA and believe they may have been deceived should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office. Complaints can be filed in English or Spanish online at www.atg.wa.gov or call 1-800-551-4636 to request a form by mail.

Link to Spanish complaint form: https://fortress.wa.gov/atg/formhandler/ago/ComplaintForm_es.aspx

Link to English complaint form: https://fortress.wa.gov/atg/formhandler/ago/ComplaintForm.aspx

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Contacts: Kristin Alexander, Public Information Officer, (206) 464-6432
Norma Chavez, Communications Specialist, (509) 734-7143 (bilingual)

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