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Common Work at Home Scams


By Nell Taliercio

Scams are every where online. Just about every where you go online you will find ads for so-called "easy and fast money" jobs. Anything that promises "easy money" or "big bucks part time" is full of it. Don't waste your time on something that promises fast and easy money because it's not going to happen.

Let's delve into the scams out there and then talk about resources you can use to research a company!

Common work at home scams to avoid

Typing "Jobs" - you can type in typing jobs in any major search engine and you'll pull up many of these so-called "jobs" typing for "easy" money. Most of the time you will pay a fee, and then they will send you information about how to place ads in local papers to "sell" this so-called job to others. This simply is not a "job" and it's nearly impossible to make a decent income with this. They post testimonials that are either made up or of successful internet marketers in order to persuade you into believing this is a great "job" for you.

Envelope Stuffing - I'm sure you've seen this one everywhere and might have fallen for it. I sure did. Not once, but twice! I thought, "Well the first company was just a scam but this one looks legit" and, yes, I was wrong. I got scammed by this little sucker twice! Please do not fall for this tempting "job". What you'll probably receive (what happened to me) for your "small fee" (which is usually how its worded) is a letter telling you to place that same "envelope-stuffing" ad in newspapers, magazines, online sites and anywhere else you can get your ad. The only way you will earn money is to pass on this scam to other moms who desperately want to work at home. There's no stuffing of envelopes involved. You simply pass on this scam to others and get paid by charging a fee...the same way it happened to you. Please don't fall for this HUGE waste of time and please don't pass this scam on to others.

Assembly/Crafting Scams- If you want to make money with assembly or crafting your best bet is to start your own business and sell your work online, locally and at fairs. The so-called jobs online for assembly or crafts are scams. Usually you will be required to buy supplies or a kit and then, after days or weeks of work, you would send in your work for payment. What usually happens is your work supposedly didn't meet the standards they have and they will either send it back for you to fix or they will keep it and not pay you. If you get the chance to "fix it" and send it back you’ll again be told it didn’t meet the standard. It's a nasty on going cycle and the end result is that you've wasted your hard earned money on the "kit" and you've wasted your valuable time for nothing.

Processing Government Refunds- Boy this one sounds pretty interesting huh? Yet another scam for you to avoid. What the meat of this scam? Basically you'll see ads that you can earn $500 to $1500 a week processing 3rd party government refunds via your computer. You are told that you'll get a list of people who might be home owners and might be entitled to a refund by HUD. They make you pay up to $300 (or even more) for this list. What you’ll do is contact these people and try to get them to share the refund with you, BUT what they fail to tell you is these people can get refunds FREE by calling HUD themselves.

So, if you go through this list and find a few people owed a refund, phone them up and tell them why you're calling, one of three things will happen:

1. They will hang up on you

2. They’ll listen to you, then tell you that their going to research this themselves. Doing so they will find out they don't need you and can get the refund on their own. Therefore you make nothing.

3. You find someone who actually takes you up on your offer. You "help" them get the refund they could have done on their own and you collect your portion. You've basically scammed that person out of all the money owed to them by withholding the fact that they can do this on their own and collect all the money.

Just stay away from this - it's bad for all concerned. And in fact, the HUD site warns people of these so-called "tracers" ... that the public can collect a refund without a “tracer.”

Chain Letters- This usually guarantees you to earn large amounts of money with a one time small investment. (See the trend? Scams ALWAYS ask you for money.) The typical chain letter scheme usually requires you to mail the chain letter, along with a specified amount of money to six (or more) people. And then they must do the same. There just simply aren’t enough people in the world to make this worth your time. AND, it's illegal! The post office says that chain letters are a form of unauthorized lottery and may violate federal mail fraud laws. They also warn not to waste your money! Read more about this at US Postal Service Inspection Services

Medical Claims Billing- I'm sure you've seen this everywhere and it may have caught your eye. This one caught my eye, but I was fortunate enough to meet someone who told me to stay away. The ad will usually state you can make tons of money part time doing "Medical Billing/ Claims Processing. The fee for the software and training can be as high as $7500 or even more. You supposedly get a list of doctors and sample letters in order to gain clients. Although this isn't necessarily the typical scam, it's not as easy (or possible) as they claim it to be. If you want to do this I would take a local class on Medial Billing (or an accredited online school) and then get an offline job doing this...then build your client list and make it home-based.

What have we learned from the examples above? If you have to pay a free, it's a scam, rip off or just not worth your time! So stay away from the above scams.

I would also like to discuss some common red flags to look for with any job offer.

They ask a fee - you should NEVER pay for a job

They claim it's easy work - a real job is never easy

They claim you can earn great money for little work - a real job will never claim you can make riches with little to no work.

They have testimonials about the "job" - a real job offer isn't going to need testimonials posted. Why would they? If they aren't trying to sell something to you, then they won't need to convince you that it's worth your time.

If it says "no kits, no fee's, not MLM...etc." - a real job isn't going to post that in their job ad. If you find a "job" advertised like that you can guarantee it's a business opp. or outright scam.

The words "No Experience Necessary" - although there are some jobs out there that don’t require experience they often won't make that a big part of their ad (or at all) and usually you find this on scam ads.

A 900 number to call for more information - any legitimate company will call you or provide you with an 800 number. If they are a smaller company and don't have an 800 number, then if you inform then you don't wish to use your long distance to call them, they will usually call you.

The Better Business Bureau
Web Assured ("Watch List" to see complaints on companies)
The Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Response Center
Scambusters - newsletter you can join too
The National Fraud Information Center