Habitat Scam Targets Senior Citizens

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He’s passing himself off as a habitat employee, and police say he’s bilked senior citizens out of hundreds of dollars.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter has details, and more on the warning from police.

“I think they need to be incarcerated,” Dianne Carter said. “I don’t think its right that they take anything from anyone.”

Especially senior citizens.

Dianne Carter looks out for her neighbors, so it’s no wonder that she’s disturbed that one of them was recently scammed.

“There’s a whole lot of elderly people who live in this neighborhood,” Carter said.

Investigators say a man posing as a worker with Habitat for Humanity is targeting elderly women, and offering to do work on their home.

He first demands that they show him cash to pay for services.

“He makes them feel comfortable, he asks them to do it and they do it,” said New Orleans Police Detective Robert Stoltz.

It happened last week in the 14-hundred block of N. Robertson in Treme.

In that case, the victim had $600 stolen.

Trotter asked, “That wasn’t the only case? “We have two other cases that we’re looking into for the Uptown area,” Stoltz replied. “We don’t know if they’re related yet or not.”

“You have to know that are not the kind that are going to go door to door to look for people that we can help,” Habitat Spokeswoman Aleis Tusa said.

Instead, Habitat requires customers to call or visit in person to first qualify, then set up service.

“So it’s never something where we’re knocking on the door and we’re never asking for cash,” Tusa reiterated. “We don’t ever accept cash.” “We always do either money orders or checks.”

Detective Robert Stoltz says if anyway comes to your door offering unsolicited services, get credentials.

“And if need be, don’t let anybody in the house until you call and verify that person is there legitimately,” Stoltz said.

The suspect is described as a well-spoken 60-year old man, wearing business-casual attire.

Investigators are in the process of locating video of the perpetrator.

If you have information in the case that might help police, call Crimestoppers (504) 822-1111.