If you really want to work at home, you might be tempted by the many ads online and even in newspapers that promise easy work and good money. It’s hard not to be tempted by these ads and promises. But there are many scams out there, and they can strip you of money, reputation and, at the very least, your confidence.
The most common scam
Yes, this one is still around. You might remember seeing these ads in newspapers years ago, promising “easy money!” for stuffing envelopes. The ads are generally targeted to moms at home, students and retired people. It’s easy to get sucked into the idea that you can make money by stuffing envelopes for businesses, but in reality, you don’t.
You are asked to send money (usually $29.99) and in return, you will get a list if of businesses you might contact to try and get their envelope stuffing business. The reality is that few, if any, companies hire people to stuff their envelopes. And these days, with more and more people relying on online methods to contact potential customers and clients, they need this service even less.
Sometimes people who pay the money will be given information on how to advertise in newspapers and online for people to start an envelope stuffing business. You make $29.99 off these poor people as they contact you for more information.
If you see this offer, or it’s sent to you directly, it’s best to ignore it, no matter how tempting.
How to spot a scam
It’s not easy to spot a scam. If you are desperate to work at home and looking for something that’s already set up for you (in that you don’t have to actually start your own business), you might be tempted by these offers to work at home.
There are several criteria to help you determine if you are dealing with unscrupulous people who are tying to scam you.
First, if an offer promises big pay for easy work, it might be a scam. The reality is that few people can get paid big dollars for easy work and little work. Big pay usually is a reward for big work, so while it might be temping to think that you can get paid big dollars for little work, you have to objectively consider the possibilities there.
Any offer that promises you a lot of work for a fee is likely not on the up and up. You shouldn’t have to pay to work. You shouldn’t have to pay for a job. Of course, some businesses (like businesses where you sell products as a consultant for a company) will require a small up-front investment. In that case, however, you are investing in your own business, not the business of others. You are investing to get the products you need to run your business and that is decidedly different than paying to get a job.
Ask questions. If you get vague answers, or your questions are ignored completely, that should set off a few warning bells with you. You should be able to dig up a street address for the company, the names of the relevant players in the company and you should be able to check the company’s history with the Better Business Bureau and other such agencies.
Don’t sign up for a job or to work with a company without talking to someone on the phone or person. Don’t settle for the information available on a website in the FAQs. Instead, make sure you can make contact with someone you can talk to one-on-one (not in email). If you can’t do that, you might want to look elsewhere.
If you do need to make an investment in product or materials (not for the job itself) use your credit card. Don’t write a check or use a debit card because those will be harder to get protection with. If you use a credit card, you get protection from the credit card company if things go wrong.
Do your research and understand the various risks and rewards of the company you are considering there are many bad deals out there and many scams, but if you do your research, you should be able to find the right opportunity for you.