Friday, September 17, 2010

Identify Work-At-Home Scams, Schemes and Frauds

I've been allowed to work from home on occasion.  I hung out in a T-shirt and pajama pants while I wrote articles, designed fliers, updated files and made phone calls.  I threw a load of laundry in the washer. I listened to music as loud as I wished and no one complained.  It's great. That's why so many people want to do it. According to some reliable studies, more and more people are working from home. There's a difference, however, in occasionally working from home for a national organization such as the BBB and stuffing envelopes for some guy that says you can make $1000 a week.

If you've perused the internet for work-at-home opportunities, you've probably run across many of our articles warning you against them.  You've also seen more than a few "F" ratings for them.  The "businesses" that ask people to stuff envelopes, assemble pamphlets and CD cases or offer home data entry positions, are always assigned "F"s by the Better Business Bureau.  The work-at-home industry generates an astounding amount of complaints and the BBB tells thousands of people every year that these companies are inherently dangerous.

There are simple rules to follow in avoiding work-at-home scams, such as "don't pay up front."  If any work-at-home opportunity presents itself as an investment toward your future wealth, just ignore it.  Paying up front will guarantee that you not only don't make money, but you also lose money.  On many occasions, people that call us for the reliability reports about work-at-home companies are so desperate to believe their financial problems will be solved that they argue with me.  I'm trying to save them money, to help them, and they tell me I'm wrong.

I realized somewhere along the line that I could explain why these companies are inherently problematic and people hang up more satisfied with what I had to say.  I also realized that people are looking on the internet for these jobs and NOT calling me (you should...I'm helpful).  I wanted to arm internet users with information needed to be absolutely sure that work-at-home gigs are scams.

We'll start with envelope stuffing. Envelope stuffing opportunities don't even bother with a legitimate premise-- such as data entry, which in some cases is at least a real job. "Stuffing envelopes" is not a job.  Envelope stuffing ads claim that you will be paid $1-$5 per envelope mailed.  Most of the ads give examples of people who've made thousands by doing this in their spare time.  Based on how much they say you'll make per envelope, it seems obvious that you could make thousands by doing this in your spare time.  I mean, if someone were slow at stuffing envelopes, he may be able to mail two per minute.  If he had only four spare hours a day to mail them out, he would still be able to mail out 480 envelopes in one day.  Even if he were paid the lowest amount $1/envelope, he'd be making nearly $500 per day!  Of course it sounds great.

But think about it.  If I could make $500/day by mindlessly stuffing envelopes while plodding through my Netflix queue, I would not be writing this article.  I'd be home making myself rich, and so would everyone else.  There would be no such thing as a day job because we'd all be nauseatingly rich from stuffing envelopes.  That's the first sign that there will be some kind of catch.  No one will pay that much to have envelopes stuffed and mailed.  There are real mailing services that charge to process mail.  They could mail out 10,000 envelopes per day for less than $500.  The same goes for anything a business asks you to mail: rebates, billing, fliers, reports, etc.  No one is going to pay you to mail from home; you're not cost-efficient.  It couldn't happen.

Speaking of cost-efficiency, let's get back to data entry.  Plenty of people get paid to plug information into company's system, but they usually have to be onsite. There's a reason for that.  When data entry personnel are located in one spot, they are easier to monitor.  A manager can make sure they are all entering data.  If the data entry professional was at home, they obviously couldn't get paid hourly, how would they prove it?  So these Enter-data-from-home offers say that people will be paid per "report" or "words entered."  But how much per report?  One dollar? two?  How long are the reports?  How much per word? A cent?  Not many people type as fast as I do.  I can enter up to 100/minute on a good day, but if I'm typing a report, making sure my fingers are in the right spot, then pausing to look at the numbers, then losing my place on the page, I type about 60 words/minute. Lets say I can type for 4 hours straight without getting carpal tunnel (let's make it 50 words/minute to account for my coffee break).  That's still 12,000 words. At the 1 cent per word payscale, its $30/hr.  Believe me, data entry personnel don't make thirty bucks an hour.  They also type at least as fast as I do.  It's really just more cost-effective for companies to make their employees come into work and pay them $8.00 to $12.00/hr.  Businesses will not do something that costs them more money for our sake.

Here's the bottom line about most work at home schemes.  They can't afford to pay you what they say they can.  They make absurd claims about how much you can earn and EVERY TIME we ask them to substantiate their claims, they fall short.  If it sounds like you're getting the better end of a deal, you should ask yourself why in the world anyone would offer it up.  The answer is usually "they're lying to you."


  1. I've been there before. I'm glad that BBB helps a lot to identify the real businesses online as well.

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