To a stay-at-home mom in a family with bills piling up, a question may arise for just an instant: “Could this offer be legit? Maybe some people haven’t had good luck with such offers, but I can work extra hard and maybe I can beat the odds and make it pay off.” In that moment, the scammer has hooked her in.
Work-at-home scams continue to flourish, costing countless consumers countless amounts of money — consumers who can least afford that loss. The Better Business Bureau is once again sending up a giant warning flare just in time for the Fourth of July, about home “business opportunities.” When the promise is for high pay for easy work from home, it is usually a scam. The scheme preys upon stay-at-home parents, the unemployed, the disabled, students and seniors. These perpetrators are happy to accept anyone’s hard-earned money.
Some of the scams cloak themselves as envelope-stuffing jobs. Some are disguised as craft assembly work involving sewing or sign-making machines, which you pay the company for. You may be making items like aprons, baby shoes or plastic signs. Others claim to train you in “rebate processing.” Some claim to be associated with well-known search engines and want to pay you $500 to $1,000 a week to do online searches from home. Or how about letting them send you the software, a list of clients and give you access to technical support, so that you can set up your own medical billing business right there in your own home?
What they all have in common is that they are not interested in paying you anything. They are schemes to get you to pay them for worthless goods and information.
Here are some red flags about work-from-home opportunities that are too good to be true:
• Offers of big pay for simple tasks. Why would they even need to advertise for people to do such work? It sounds too good to be true, and as the BBB always says, it probably is.
• Job offers from strangers that you haven’t even applied for. Often these are phishing attempts to get your personal information for identity theft purposes.
• Advance fee requests. If you are asked to pay in order to be employed or asked for a fee in order to “get in on the ground floor,” don’t do it. Advance fee scams are common and come in many forms.
• You’re requested to wire money. First of all, see the former item. Secondly: Wired payments are gone forever and can’t be recovered.
• High pressure to act now. This often accompanies a scam that is asking you to pay money up front. Don’t let them hurry you. Take your time. A “limited time offer” should just be ignored.
At the very least when you are considering a work-from-home offer, take the time to ask these questions:
• What tasks will I have to perform? Get them to list every step of the job.
• Will I be paid a salary or will I be paid on commission?
• What is the basis for your claims of my likely earnings? Do you survey everyone who entered your program? Show documentation.
• Who will pay me?
• When do I get my first paycheck?
• What is the total cost to me, including supplies, equipment and fees? What do I get for my money?
Finally, check out the company two ways. Do a search online for the company’s name with the word “scam.” Then check them out with the Better Business Bureau, www.kansasplains.bbb.org.