You’ve very likely heard about work at home scams, but do you really know what they are? A work at home scam is typically a well-promoted employment opportunity that promises big earnings for what seems like minimal or easy effort on your part. These programs are sometimes hard to identify immediately as they tend to be advertised in reputable magazines, newspapers, websites and other forms of communication.
I have heard of people responding to what sounded like a tremendous money making offer only to discover it was anything but that. The scary part is that on average there are 42 scams to every legitimate work from home program. You read that correctly, there are a number of legitimate ways to earn from home and I’ll get to those in a moment.
One work from home scam that tends to catch a number of people is related to stuffing envelopes. I know of one that promised the return of $1,500 per week. In order to start on a program like this you must purchase a kit which costs between $20 and $50. They include instructions on how to stuff envelopes with information you would be distributing to recruit others to stuff envelopes.
As there is no real product or service being sold what you are doing is trying to earn a commission from someone else who used one of your stuffed envelopes to buy the very same starter kit you did. It’s a cycle that spins and spins and even if you recruited a handful of people, the ‘promise’ of earning $1,500 per week seems unattainable at best.
With this in mind, it is wise to have a few filters in place when trying to connect with a work-at-home opportunity. The general rule of thumb used in the past was to avoid any and all that requested any kind of upfront payment. However, in today’s economy it is common for legitimate home work programs to request a pre-payment for such things as training materials.
So how do you decipher which ones are real and which are work-at-home scams?
I have a series of suggestions that will become helpful in figuring out what is fact and what is fiction. They include:
Can You Speak To A Human? It’s easy to get pulled into a work-at-scam if all communication is via e-mail. You should be able to speak to someone on the phone who can answer questions about the program. They should also be able to give you direct answers during the conversation and not have to “get back to you” on simple details.
Ask About The Program While in a phone conversation you should be able to find out what a normal work-at-home day would look like. This can cover what tasks are required and how long it would take on average to complete these tasks. You will also want to know what is actually required in order to get paid and if it is a salary or commission-based program.
Ask About Pay You should also be able to discuss the payment schedule. This includes how often and when you will be paid and what the realistic earning potential of the program is – from just starting out to once you completely get up to speed with the task timing and completion.
Protect Your Money If you are required to provide an upfront payment for materials or any kind of training tools, be sure to find out if there is a money back guarantee. This protects you if the program turns out to be more than you are prepared to do in order to earn some extra income. Also, is there a refund policy in place?
Further Protection Should you decide that a program is everything they promise and you are seeing potential earnings by being part of it, you still need to protect yourself. This means do not give out passwords or any kind of account information. Request payments be made either via a PayPal account. That should be the only personal information you will be asked for along with the general name, address and contact details you would likely have to provide in an application to work. If any request for information does not seem right, look into it.
So what are some of the work-at-home scams to avoid? Here’s my top ten list:
Any work at home job that requires you to put together products, and crafts in particular, veer away from it. The cost to you is usually to cover the cost of the starter kit and instructions. The promise of making big bucks per craft or toy is a scam as you are required to send the finished product in for inspection. No matter how many times you correct mistakes they will identify, you will never meet their specifications. They make their money from selling starter kits and not the crafts.
This is an interesting one. As all medical facilities contract out their billing services if they don’t do them in-house, chances are you will not be working for one of these contractors. The scam revolves around you spending between $300 and $900 for a complete medical billing at-home business including computer software and a potential client list in your region. Remember, the list, which will be outdated, is of ‘potential clients’ and not clients who are currently waiting for bills for medical services already performed.
This is an electronic spin on the envelope stuffing work-at-home scam. You pay a fee for start up, generally in the $50 range, and you get set up to solicit the same e-mail you responded to, to various online sources. If anyone bites you earn a commission. Scam!
Home Workers List
Here is a clever one. You are asked to pay a fee for a list of companies that hire home workers. The list you will receive will be outdated, include companies that either have hired home workers in the past and don’t anymore or never did. The scammer makes money off of you buying the list.
If you see any advertisement promoting something where you have to use a 1-900 number to find out more, stop right there. Where 1-800 numbers are toll-free to use, 1-900 numbers are not. You will see a price on your phone bill for this one if you call a 1-900 number as the phone company will automatically charge you. Some rates are several dollars per minute.
Home Typing Jobs
This is another spin on the envelope stuffing scam. You pay a fee for a starter kit that includes a disc that shows you how to advertise home typing ads and sell copies of the disc you just purchased. Scam!
Money Making Computer
Here is yet another spin on the envelope stuffing scam. Here you pay for instructions that show you how to place ads promoting how to turn your computer into a money-making machine – the same ad that caught your attention.
Sure, in some cases you can make some money working as part of a program that involves ladder climbing. The problem is that the focus becomes recruiting more people below you so that the people above you make more money. It’s okay for some, but generally speaking, I dislike programs that use people to help others succeed.
Any kind of offer that involves sending chain letters or chain e-mails should be avoided at all costs. Even with the promise of making millions once your name reaches the top – don’t fall for it. Your name will never make it that high and you risk being prosecuted for fraud.
I’ve already covered this one but it bears repeating as it is the top work from home scam. There is no way you will recover your costs, let alone make any additional money, stuffing envelopes in a program to recruit others to do the same.
However, as I have already stated, there are ways to make money from home legitimately. If you follow my suggestions, and steer clear of the scammers, you may find the perfect fit for your circumstances and earn a few extra bucks while doing so. You’ll find dozens of legitimate ways to make money on this web site, so take a minute to explore the possibilities…