Beware of Work From Home Scams
Working from home is an appealing idea and it’s absolutely possible to make a living doing so but you have to be prepared to sort the great ideas from the work from home scams.
A legitimate home based business has a solid foundation based on the following:
- It’s not as easy as it sounds. It takes hard work and dedication.
- You must plan the work and then work the plan…knowledge and/or a passion for your idea is paramount.
There are multitudes of work from home scams poised to take as much money from you as you’re willing to give. Does this sound like something you’d never fall for?
How One Scam Company Reeled in a Target
Well, listen to this excellent episode of Planet Money from National Public Radio. You’ll be astonished at the way these call centers reel in unsuspecting targets.
It’s a bit lengthy – 22 minutes – but it’s so eye-opening that you’ll want to listen to the very end.
After the introduction to the tape, at about the 5 minute mark the actual conversation between the scammer and the victim starts.
Please do listen. You’ll want to share this with your friends and family, too. That’s how important this information is.
A few examples of work from home scams:
The common thread in these types of offers is that you pay to get started. Always be suspicious of any work offer that asks for money up front.
- Envelope Stuffing
- Rebate Processing
- Product Assembly
- Processing Medical Claims
- Pyramid Schemes
- Internet Businesses
Get rich quick schemes are just that…schemes.
Advice from the FTC
According to the FTC Consumer Information Center (Federal Trade Commission), there are a number of clues to determine if an offer is good or bad.
A huge red flag is if you are expected to pay a fee to get started.
Refer to the FTC’s site Bogus Business Opportunities to learn about the docouments that a business must provide to a potential buyer. Here’s a paragraph from that page. There are five pieces of information a business must provide and they must give you at least seven days before you sign a contract OR before you give them money.
- identify the seller;
- tell you about certain lawsuits or other legal actions involving the seller or its key personnel;
- tell you if the seller has a cancellation or refund policy. If so, what are the terms of that policy?
- say whether the seller is making an earnings claim. If so, the seller has to give you another document called an earnings claim statement; and
- give you a list of references.
The FTC also provides information about reporting possible fraud. Please be vigilant and research any opportunity regardless of if it seems above board or if it looks too good to be true.
Add Fraud.org to your list of resources when checking out work-at-home offerings. There are 9 important questions to ask before committing to anything.
Fraud.org is a project of the National Consumers League and partners with the FTC to help fight consumers victimized by all types of fraud including identity theft, telemarketing fraud, internet fraud, etc. The site includes helpful information such as:
- Learning about scams
- How to spot a scam
- Where to file a complaint
- News articles about current scams
They maintain a fraud alert system (FAS) that more than 90 law enforcement agencies (local, state, federal and international agencies).
Have you ever been approached by a scammer? How did you handle it?
Your Experience Counts
If you are a retiree or about to become a retiree, you’ve got a wealth of experience that you can use to earn additional income to supplement your retirement.
The trick is to find an outlet for that experience such as I’ve suggested in this post: Work From Home Ideas. Many retirees use their experience and knowledge to become consultants.
This book, Work at Home Now, is chock full of solid information on finding work at home jobs.
The tag line of the book is “The No-Nonsense Guide to Finding Your Perfect Home-Based Job, Avoiding Scams, and Making a Great Living” and it delivers on that platform.
Some of the things you’ll learn are:
- How to spot scams that elude even law enforcement
- Google job search terms and which are good or not-so-good
- Where to look for legitimate mystery shopper and transcriptionist part time jobs.
You might also want to read my post Beware of Retirement Investment Scams!
I’ll keep this post updated with additional information as it becomes available.