Work From Home Tips
Beware Of Work-At-Home Scams
The “American Dream” has taken on new dimensions for millions of people. The thought of staying at home, working for yourself, can be very appealing. Keep control of your own schedule, make a little extra money, juggle kids at home and still contribute to the family income are common desires many people have. But, BE CAREFUL! There are many “too good to be true” scams out there, many right under our noses, trying to lure you in.
A woman responded to the following advertisement; “Make up to $1440 weekly mailing diet brochures.” She sent the company $54 for a start-up package. When she received it, she discovered that she would have to spend hundreds of dollars of her own money on supplies and mailing costs. The company would not return her “refundable deposit.” Thankfully, sort of, this woman was only out $54 and had the wind temporarily taken out of her high hopes. Think of all the $54’s this company scammed out of other wishful thinkers, like this woman.
Another woman responded to an ad that said she could earn money doing medical billing at home for area doctors’ offices. After being told that the company had a list of waiting clients and that there was a 30-day money-back guarantee, she paid $249 for the company’s software. It turned out there were no waiting clients. She called two of the doctors on a list the company gave her. Those doctors said they had never heard of the company. The company refused to refund her money.
Very difficult to comprehend how folks can actually take the time and spend the energy to concoct deceptive lies with the total intention of scamming people. Many of the people they take money from really need it, or they wouldn’t be lured into these scams in the first place. These “scammers” know that, and deliberately set out to target those who are most vulnerable. Even more reason to WATCH OUT!
Offers that promise a way to make money working at home can be very appealing. You should be careful, however, that you don’t fall victim to a work-at-home scam. Over the years, many consumers have lost money to companies that said they would pay people to stuff envelopes, do craft work, or review manuscripts. All sound very simple and legit. Most are not so simple and not so legit. Those scams are still around, but today, they are joined by new ones that promise people can earn lots of money using their home computer or sending out mailings. Whatever the angle, usually the consumer ends up losing money instead of making it.
Work-at-home scams advertise in newspaper classified ads, on flyers, on cable television, or over the Internet. What they all have in common is that the company will ask for an upfront fee before you can start working. The company may claim the fee is a registration free, a deposit on materials, or payment for instructional books or computer disks. Here are three common scams:
Medical Billing Work: These scams advertise that there is
a new and growing market for individuals to work on home
computers preparing bills for doctors’ offices. The company
may offer to sell special software and training materials for
anywhere from $100 to several thousand dollars. It may
promise that once you have ordered its software and learned
how to use it, it will provide you with clients. All too often,
the buyers find that there are no ready clients and they are
supposed to find their own clients. Other companies do tell
buyers that they will have to find their own clients, but say
that it won’t be difficult. However, the buyer usually can’t
find any doctor’s office that will use his or her services.
Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission and law
enforcement officials from 29 states, brought a number of
actions against companies that advertised medical billing
opportunities. According to the FTC, the medical billing
field is dominated by a number of large and well-established
firms, and very few people who purchase a medical billing
opportunity are able to find clients or recover their initial
Envelope Stuffing: This long-running scam offers to pay $3
or $4 per envelope you address or stuff. You send the
company money for your start-up kit of instructions and
some materials. They promise to send you a list of companies
that want you to do the work. What you actually get is a list
of companies that either do not exist or do not pay people to
stuff envelopes. Or you receive instructions on how you can
place ads like the one you answered and get unsuspecting
consumers to start sending you money.
Sewing / Craft / Assembly Work: These work-at-home scams
may ask you to pay for a book or list of companies that will
pay you to do crafts as sewing or frame-making in your home.
You may have to send money to purchase the work materials.
When you contact the companies on the list, you find they
don’t pay for that kind of work.
Avoiding Work-At-Home Rip-Offs
1. Never pay any money for information about a work-at-home offer,
or for any kind of start-up kit, instructional booklets, or other
2. Be skeptical of earning claims that sound too good to be true, or
promises of a regular market or steady salary that are not
3. Use common sense. In these days of automation and high-speed
printing and mailing equipment, it is unlikely a company would pay
several dollars for each envelope you stuff and mail.
4. Keep in mind that just because an ad appears in a reputable
newspaper or magazine does not mean that the information it
contains is accurate or legitimate.
5. Ask detailed questions about what exactly you will have to do to
earn money with the program. Who will pay you? Will you be paid
on commission? Will you be asked to buy supplies or pay for
6. Before entering into any work-at-home agreement, feel free to
contact the Minnesota Attorney General Office, Consumer Protection
Division, to see if complaints have been filed against the company
you are considering doing business with. Keep in mind, however,
that illegitimate companies often advertise heavily for a few
months, collect their fees and then close up shop and move on
before anyone has a chance to file complaints, or they change
their company name.
Office of Minnesota Attorney General
TTY: (651) 297-7206
Provided by the Minnesota Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division. Some information also provided by the Maryland Attorney General, Consumer Protection.
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Just Not Sure?
If you can afford it, give yourself permission to hire help at times you may not ordinarily! With time the commodity that it really is, handing yourself a little more sometimes is a huge gift to yourself that you probably deserve! Even if you are the type that prefers to do everything yourself, there may well be some instances where it makes sense to pay someone else to do something, so you have some time freed up you wouldn’t have otherwise!
Think about it!
It could be well worth it!
The test of pleasure is the memory it leaves behind.
Jean Paul Richter
Remember to Take
Time to Enjoy!
“The art of being
wise is the art of
“He who can take
no great interest
in what is small
will take false interest
in what is great.”