Ten Bogus Work From Home Schemes to Avoid
1. Envelope Stuffing
Spend $20 to $50 and you’ll get a starter kit instructing you to mail flyers aimed at recruiting other people to stuff envelopes. You aren’t promoting a product or service—just getting people to accept the same offer. If they purchase the same kit, you get a commission. It won’t happen. Recruiting people to stuff envelopes is the oldest work-from-home gimmick. Don’t be fooled.
2. Email Processing
A modern-day version of the envelope stuffing con, for a fee you can become a “highly-paid” email processor working from home. Pay the fee and you get instructions on spamming the same ad you responded to in newsgroups and Web forums, with a promise of $25 for each ad accepted. No one accepts such ads.
3. Faux Data Entry
You’re offered access to companies supposedly looking to farm out basic data entry for an ad campaign—for an access fee. The work will never materialize.
4. “Just call” 1-900
Just remember: 1-900 numbers cost YOU money to call, which is how scammers get their money, by offering bogus work from home schemes. Once you’ve called, they’ve made their money—and you’ve lost yours.
5. Check Cashing
Scammers recruit “financial managers” or “representatives” or “sales managers” to cash checks (which are counterfeit) or deposit funds (which are stolen) for a small commission and then wire the money abroad, often to the scammers themselves. By the time the checks bounce, the money has already been sent. You are left holding the bag. If you’re asked for banking passwords or you hear the words “Western Union” mentioned, run for the hills.
6. Assembly Work
Avoid ads that say you can make “easy money” assembling items (usually crafts) from home. These cons usually require an upfront deposit for supplies, which never materialize. And even when they do, there’s no market for your “crafts.”
7. Medical Billing/Contract Typing
Most of these schemes promise hundreds, even thousands of dollars per week for processing insurance claims for doctors or typing for people who are too busy to do either. Both require you to pay upfront for materials and or “leads,” which turn out to be worthless.
8. Name Compiling
For a small (maybe $30) “registration fee” you are promised 50 cents for every name and address you send in. So you send in the money and give names and addresses of everyone you know. The scammers take your money—then contact every name you have given with the same scam. You get stiffed and your pals get spammed.
9. Mystery Shopping
In this scam, an official-sounding company promises to reimburse you for purchases during your mystery shopping rounds—once you pay a “registration fee” to find assignments in its (bogus) data base. Legitimate mystery shopping outfits never require a fee to search for companies requesting their services.
10. Companies Looking for “Homeworkers”
Pay a small fee for a list of companies who are supposedly looking for people (like you) who want to work from home. What you get is a generic, outdated list, some of which don’t want people who work from home, others who did—years ago. Don’t buy lists.
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