By: Jennifer May, independent contributor
Many of you have searched for work from home with no success and many are just starting their search with the fear of being scammed. It is very possible to be scammed as 95%+ opportunities out there online are scams. That is where research, advice and help come into place. Especially from those who have already been scammed and spent much time searching.
You must always do your research on an opportunity, make sure you understand the difference between a Home Job and Home Based Business, and do your best to keep an open mind but also keep guarded on where you invest money. You must always remember a Home Job will not require you to pay to work for them (if they do ask for money then it is a scam). But with Home Based Businesses you usually will have to pay a start up cost and monthly overhead.
Many start their search (just like I did) thinking they can make money quickly over the internet and there has to be some magic opportunity or job out there. This is not the case, as there are many legitimate Home Jobs, Home Based Businesses, and ways to earn income from home, but you still will need to be very careful on your search and understand what scams to watch out for.
Here are my Top 10 Scams to look out for on your search for work at home...
Assembly Work at Home:
Typical Ad -- "Assembly work at home! Easy money assembling craft items. No experience necessary."
This scheme requires you to invest hundreds of dollars in instructions and materials and many hours of your time to produce items such as baby booties, toy clowns, and plastic signs for a company that has promised to buy them. Once you have purchased the supplies and have done the work, the company often decides not to pay you because your work does not meet certain "standards." You are then left with merchandise that is difficult or impossible to sell.
Typical Ad -- "$350 Weekly Guaranteed! Work two hours daily at home stuffing envelopes."
When answering such ads, you may not receive the expected envelopes for stuffing, but instead get promotional material asking for cash just for details on money-making plans. The details usually turn out to be instructions on how to go into the business of placing the same kind of ad the advertiser ran in the first place. Pursuing the envelope ad plan may require spending several hundred dollars more for advertising, postage, envelopes, and printing. This system feeds on continuous recruitment of people to offer the same plan. There are several variations on this type of scheme, all of which require the customer to spend money on advertising and materials. According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, "In practically all businesses, envelope stuffing has become a highly mechanized operation using sophisticated mass mailing techniques and equipment which eliminates any profit potential for an individual doing this type of work-at-home. The Inspection Service knows of no work-at-home promotion that ever produces income as alleged."
Typical Ad -- "Make copies of this letter and send them to people whose names we will provide. All you have to do is send us ten dollars for our mailing list and labels. Look at the chart below and see how you will automatically receive thousands in cash return!!!"
The only people who benefit from chain letters are the mysterious few at the top of the chain who constantly change names, addresses, and post office boxes. They may attempt to intimidate you by threatening bad luck, or try to impress you by describing themselves as successful professionals who know all about non-existent sections of alleged legal codes.
Home Typist (also order taker/application taker):
There are lots of home typist positions that are perfectly legitimate, but these never ask you for a fee and they are also rarely advertised online. Don't get suckered by ads that promise home typing work that require a fee. They are all variations on the email processing scam.
Similar to the scam above. You are cold calling and telemarketing to set up appointments for reps to make home visits. You get paid if and only if the appointment you set up "qualifies". Guess what??? They usually don't "qualify".
Lists of companies that hire home workers:
Many people get scammed into buying lists that promise hundreds of “sure bet” companies that are just waiting to hire you to work from home. The simple reality is that these lists are often just compiled from the telephone book and many of the companies on them, if the companies exist at all, don't know they're on such a list. And, the real kicker: Most of these companies don't even hire home-based workers. There are legitimate lists online, but they are totally free for you to review.
Typical Ad -- "Turn your Home Computer into a Cash Machine! Get computer diskette FREE! Huge Selection of Jobs! No experience needed! Start earning money in days! Many companies want to expand, but don’t want to pay for office space. You save them money by working in the comfort of your home."
This is typical of advertisements showing up uninvited in your e-mail—an old scheme advertised in a new way. You pay for a useless guide to work-at-home jobs—a mixture of computer-related work such as word processing or data entry and the same old envelope-stuffing and home crafts scams. The computer disk is as worthless as the guidebook. It may only list free government web sites and/or business opportunities which require more money.
Processing Medical Insurance Claims:
Typical Ad -- "You can earn from $800 to $1000 weekly processing insurance claims on your home computer for health care professionals such as doctors, dentists chiropractors, and podiatrists. Over 80% of providers need your services. Learn how in one day!"
Generally, the promoter of this scheme attracts you by advertising on cable television and, perhaps, by inviting you to a business opportunity trade show at a hotel or convention center. You may be:
- Urged to buy software programs and even computers at exorbitant prices; a program selling at a software store for $69 might cost you several thousands of dollars.
- Told that your work will be coordinated with insurance companies by a central computer.
- Required to pay for expensive training sessions available at a "current special rate" that will be higher in the future, and
- Pressured to make a decision immediately.
Most likely, the expensive training sessions are superficial, and the market for your services is very small or nonexistent. The promoter may delay the processing of your job, citing a backlog or mistakes in your work. There may also be no central computer as advertised. You may be left with no way to deliver what you have promised to your clients or customers—if you found any—and with no way to earn any money on you own.
$6 Chain letter:
If you’ve ever seen the $6 Chain Letter in your Inbox, you’ve experienced a pyramid scheme up close and personal. For only $6, you can make thousands, or so promises the letter. A simple rule of thumb: Avoid all chain letters, especially when money is being requested. This is one letter you’ll want to avoid like the plague because not only is it totally illegal, it doesn't work.
Reading books for pay:
A variation on the job’s list is the "Make Money Reading Books” list. This list names publishers who pay to have individuals review their manuscripts. As with the lists in #5, you can find this information for free on the Web yourself. And, while it is true that some publishing companies pay people to review manuscripts, they will advertise these positions carefully. They are not typically happy about receiving unsolicited resumes.
Email processing is the e-version of envelope stuffing. Typically, you pay a fee of between $5-$30 and then you are sent your 'information kit'. This typically tells you how to take the exact same ad you replied to and send it out by email or on newsletters to convince others to send you the same fee you initially paid.
Jennifer May is a work-at-home mom and National Sales Director with Ameriplan®/The Freedom at Home Team (www.HomeCareerAndFreedom.com) and a GoMatador.com article contributor. She is also the Founder/Owner of TheWAHMGuide.com (Work at Home Resources and Listings) and the Phoenix Work from Home Examiner for Examiner.com. Learn more about Jennifer by viewing her GoMatador.com profile or by visiting any of the links above.