Work at Home Scams

The idea of working from home is certainly appealing.  You get to set your own hours, sleep in some days, and be there when the kids get home from school.  You can be there when the packages get delivered and let the dog out before it’s too late.  Who doesn’t see the attraction?

Unfortunately, when something is so enticing, there will always be predators looking to take advantage of the dreams of others.  They dangle the “be your own boss” bait and reel in the people who their wishes overrule their judgment.

The ads are hard to resist.  “Make $2800 per month without leaving your home!” or “Stuff envelopes in your home for $1 per envelopes.”  I cases like these, the old saw tends to hold true: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Common work-at-home scams include:

Medical Billing

For only $499.99, you can purchase a “business opportunity”.  A lot of medical bill is actually done on paper so there is very real market for medical billing and processing.  Unfortunately for the respondents to these ads, the vast majority of this market is already taken by large companies with huge marketing budgets.  Finding enough customer to generate enough revenue to recover your investment is almost impossible, but you’ll never see that in an ad.

Envelope Stuffing

You answer an ad in the paper, sending $29.95 for a packet that will instruct you in the fine art of stuffing envelopes for $1 each.  When you get the information, you find out it is a letter instructing you to place an ad in the papers stating “Stuff Envelopes for $1 Each.  $29.95 for Information.”  This forces you to become the scammer, just to recover your costs.  Bad you.

Assembly or Craft Work

This one actually sounds like a business.  You invest in–for example–a sign-making machine for $1500.  The selling company promises to buy a quota  of signs from you each month.  After you buy the equipment and materials you spend countless hours making the product only to find out that either a) the company has disappeared or b) their undefined “Quality Standards” has rejected the work.  Nothing is ever up to standards.

That’s not to say there aren’t legitimate opportunities to make money at home.  Bob at Christian Personal Finance recently listed 24 legitimate home-based businesses, including blogging, eBay selling, wedding planning, car mechanic, and mobile oil changes.

Are you exploring any home-based business opportunities?

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  • 6 comments

    Comments

    1. Ugh. These are always showing up in the various mom communities I frequent. I hate all the MLM schemes and the various “parties” where you scam your friends into buying junk.

    2. The parties aren’t too bad, unless they get excessive. When there’s a party planned every week, it’s obnoxious.

      For a while, my wife was one of the party-people, but it eventually started hurting relationships.

    3. I hate scammers, but I’m okay with the parties. I have no problem saying no thanks, so it’s fun to hang out and not buy anything (unless I do see something I want, but that’s only happened twice – once with makeup and I needed something specific and the other for a candle scent my husband liked a lot).

    4. I hate to see when people are taken advantage of with these scams. I would never pay money in order “learn” how to make money at home.

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