BBB Alert: Habitat for Humanity name used in work-at-home scam

April 20, 2009

The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau is issuing an alert regarding a current work-at-home scam using a well-known charity, Habitat for Humanity.

The Wisconsin BBB was notified by a consumer who answered an advertisement in her local newspaper for a work-at-home job as a Regional Donations Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity International. She applied for the job via email and was accepted.

She was sent a check, which she was told was a donation, and was instructed to keep $350 of it as her payment and wire the remainder to another Habitat for Humanity official who was said to be in charge of home construction projects. Unfortunately, the check was counterfeit. If she would have deposited the check into her personal checking account and wired the remainder, as instructed, she would have owed her bank the amount of money she withdrew against the check deposit.

Fortunately, this consumer became suspicious and did not wire the money, as instructed. Instead, she contacted the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau, which believes this is the latest twist on a common, work-at-home scam.

“These scammers are getting even more aggressive, and unfortunately, using well-known names of reputable charities to gain creditability and perpetrate their crimes,” said Randall Hoth, president/CEO of the Wisconsin BBB. “Consumers should always be careful of questionable offers when searching for jobs online, especially when you’re sent a check and asked to wire transfer some of it.”

Habitat for Humanity was contacted and confirmed that the offer is a scam. The scammers were using the website, which has since been shutdown.