I’m generally skeptical whenever anyone asks for money. Today I came across a charitable organization that, at first, appeared to come from a legitimate organization. They sounded different than the scams I have seen and they caught my interest. They had a nice website and were almost convincing.
I am registered on a website that helps pair up volunteers with charitable organizations needing help (http://www.idealist.org/). I’d like to be able to do some good in the world and this morning I was excited to get the following email which I assumed was from my contact information on the volunteer website.
My name is Harvey XXXXXX and I am the HR manager for Glen Hamilton Foundation. I have just found your information at one of the employment portal and I think that you would be interested in two job opportunities at Glen Hamilton Foundation: CSR (20 hours weekly) and Corporate CSR (30 hours weekly). Both positions involve a lot of responsibility, attentiveness and independence, but they are well rewarded. Annual incomes of CSR and Corporate CSR are US $32,400 and US $65,600, respectively.
Warren, if you are self-reliant enough to work at the convenience of your own home or office, and if you are a quick learner and ready to develop your customer service and management skills, please contact me and I will give you a very detailed account of these vacancies.
It sounded interesting to me, the type of thing I’d love to do so I Googled them and came up with nothing, which was a huge red flag. I went to the website in the email (www.ghamiltonhome.org). It looked and sounded great. The type of thing I’d absolutely love to be a part of…but I still wasn’t sold.
I did a whois on the domain name and my enthusiasm melted. The address was registered two weeks ago in China (http://whois.domaintools.com/ghamiltonhome.org). I went back and looked at the website closely. It says their main office is in the Netherlands and they have job openings in New York (but no New York contact information). Then I read some of the job descriptions and it infuriated me.
They are looking for people who will be paid out of commissions from the donations they process (7%). They also talk about how urgent it is to process each donation immediately so that that charity can be performed on time. First it appears they are preying on people’s desire to do good by soliciting donations. And second, they are getting other people to do their dirty work all under the guise of working for a charitable organization.
I have filed a complaint with the BBB, the Attorney General, sent the information to the Seattle Times, and notified idealist.com.
I would love to be wrong here because I would have been eager to help promote a cause like this. But from everything I have found, it’s a total fraud. But more than that, it’s a step up from the typical email frauds we have all grown to know and hate. They’ve built up a website and gone even further to trick people into doing their bidding. And they try and leverage our desire to help and do good in the world to do it. It really pisses me off.
Based on the evidence I’ve gathered…it looks like a total scam and I hate to think of the people they are tricking into giving money and lobbying for them. If I’m wrong about this…somebody let me know and I’ll be one of their biggest advocates.