Working from Home
For many people who are job searching, the idea of working from home is a very appealing one. The ads are everywhere- over the internet, in newspapers, even hand-written signs tacked onto a wooden stake or telephone pole. The actual jobs offered may be different but the bottom line is usually the same- you can make a lot of money (even in your spare time) while working from home.
If these work opportunities seem too good to be true, itвЂ™s because they probably are. With unemployment still high, millions of people are looking for either full-time positions or a chance to earn extra income with a second job. This creates a perfect environment for fraudulent businesses and con-artists to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.
If you are seriously considering a work-from-home offer, do some research and thoroughly investigate the company you are dealing with. Many of these scams can seem quite legitimate. They may offer you a refund if you are not successful in meeting their business goals. They might require you to buy a "starter kit" or charge you for certification papers which are worthless. They may also charge your credit card for bogus items related to the business.
Other companies are not up-front about their actual business operations. You may find yourself working long hours without pay or incurring costs for photocopying, buying office supplies or other things you need to do the job. Many people have been duped exactly like this and have ended up losing thousands of dollars.
Common Work-From-Home Scams
Here are some examples of work-from-home scams which you should avoid:
- Rebate Processing. These email ads claim you can earn money by processing rebates. However, you have to pay a fee for training, certification, and registration. What you usually receive are poorly written and useless training materials and to make matters worse, you never get any rebates to process. And that refund you ultimately ask for? It never happens.
- Online Searches. This job can seem really interesting and it promises to pay you well- anything from $500 to $1000 per week or even up to $7000 per month. All you do is run internet searches on prominent search engines and fill out forms. You can be your own boss and work from your own home. You merely have to pay a small shipping and handling fee for materials. Unfortunately for you, these con-artists simply want your credit card information so that they can use your financial information to fraudulently charge your account.
- Envelope Stuffing. The advertisement says you can earn lots of money stuffing envelopes at home. Of course, first you have to pay a "small" fee. Generally, once you pay the promoter all you receive is a letter asking you to get other people to buy into this envelope stuffing scheme or some other scam. There is no way to earn money unless these other gullible people pay you something for nothing.
- Craft or Assembly Work. This ad promises that you can make good money by assembling crafts or other products from your home. Many times, you are required to invest hundreds of dollars for equipment or supplies such as a sewing machine or materials to make aprons, plastic signs, or baby shoes. Or you may be asked to spend many hours making these items for a company which has supposedly ordered them. But in the end, you never get paid and all you have to show for your investment is supplies and equipment you will never use or need again.
Legitimate businesses should be more than willing to put everything in writing. Be sure to ask about what specific tasks you will be required to perform and get a complete job description. Find out if you will be paid a salary or if your income is based solely on commissions. Ask who will pay you and when you will receive your first paycheck. Also find out what, if anything, you have to pay or invest- are special supplies or equipment needed?
If a work-from-home business opportunity presents itself, be very cautious before accepting it. If this so-called opportunity involves an up-front fee or requires your credit card or bank account information, the chances are great that it is a scam. The advertisements may run in a well-known newspaper or other trusted source and the people you speak with may seem totally legitimate. But use common sense, reason, and do your homework. Remember, a genuine business opportunity will withstand scrutiny.