Work at home scams

The nation’s high unemployment rate has given birth to this scam which asks for payment upfront in return for a work at home job.

Never agree to send money and contact the Cadiz Police Department if you receive one of these notices.

Here are 10 of the most popular work at home scams from www.scambusters.org

10. Craft Assembly

This scam encourages you to assemble toys, dolls, or other craft projects at home with the promise of high per-piece rates. All you have to do is pay a fee up-front for the starter kit… which includes instructions and parts.

Sounds good? Well, once you finish assembling your first batch of crafts, you’ll be told by the company that they “don’t meet our specifications.”

In fact, even if you were a robot and did it perfectly, it would be impossible for you to meet their specifications. The scammer company is making money selling the starter kits — not selling the assembled product. So, you’re left with a set of assembled crafts… and no one to sell them to.

9. Medical Billing

In this scam, you pay $300-$900 for everything (supposedly) you need to start your own medical billing service at home. You’re promised state-of-the-art medical billing software, as well as a list of potential clients in your area.

What you’re not told is that most medical clinics process their own bills, or outsource the processing to firms, not individuals. Your software may not meet their specifications, and often the lists of “potential clients” are outdated or just plain wrong.

As usual, trying to get a refund from the medical billing company is like trying to get blood from a stone.

8. Email Processing

This is a twist on the classic “envelope stuffing scam” (see #1 below). For a low price ($50?) you can become a “highly-paid” email processor working “from the comfort of your own home.”

Now… what do you suppose an email processor does? If you have visions of forwarding or editing emails, forget it. What you get for your money are instructions on spamming the same ad you responded to in newsgroups and Web forums!

Think about it — they offer to pay you $25 per email processed — would any legitimate company pay that?

7. “A List of Companies Looking for Homeworkers!”

In this one, you pay a small fee for a list of companies looking for homeworkers just like you.

The only problem is that the list is usually a generic list of companies, companies that don’t take homeworkers, or companies that may have accepted homeworkers long, long ago. Don’t expect to get your money back with this one.

6. “Just Call This 1-900 Number For More Information…”

No need to spend too much time (or money) on this one. 1-900 numbers cost money to call, and that’s how the scammers make their profit.

Save your money — don’t call a 1-900 number for more information about a supposed work-at-home job.

5. Typing At Home

If you use the Internet a lot, then odds are that you’re probably a good typist. How better to capitalize on it than making money by typing at home?

Here’s how it works: After sending the fee to the scammer for “more information,” you receive a disk and printed information that tells you to place home typist ads and sell copies of the disk to the suckers who reply to you. Like #8, this scam tries to turn you into a scammer!

4. “Turn Your Computer Into a Money-Making Machine!”

Well, this one’s at least half-true. To be completely true, it should read: “Turn your computer into a money-making machine… for spammers!”

This is much the same spam as #5, above. Once you pay your money, you’ll be sent instructions on how to place ads and pull in suckers to “turn their computers into money-making machines.”

3. Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)

If you’ve heard of network marketing (like Amway), then you know that there are legitimate MLM businesses based on agents selling products or services.

One big problem with MLMs, though, is when the pyramid and the ladder-climbing become more important than selling the actual product or service.

If the MLM business opportunity is all about finding new recruits rather than selling products or services, beware: The Federal Trade Commission may consider it to be a pyramid scheme… and not only can you lose all your money, but you can be charged with fraud, too!

We saw an interesting MLM scam recently: one MLM company advertised the product they were selling as FREE. The fine print, however, states that it is “free in the sense that you could be earning commissions and bonuses in excess of the cost of your monthly purchase of” the product. Does that sound like free to you?

2. Chain Letters/Emails (“Make Money Fast”)

If you’ve been on the Internet for any length of time, you’ve probably received or at least seen these chain emails. They promise that all you have to do is send the email along plus some money by mail to the top names on the list, then add your name to the bottom… and one day you’ll be a millionaire.

Actually, the only thing you might be one day is prosecuted for fraud. This is a classic pyramid scheme, and most times the names in the chain emails are manipulated to make sure only the people at the top of the list (the true scammers) make any money.

This scam should be called “Lose Money Fast” — and it’s illegal.

1. Envelope Stuffing

This is THE classic work-at-home scam. It’s been around since the U.S. Depression of the 1920s and 1930s, and it’s moved onto the Internet like a cockroach you just can’t eliminate.

There are several variations, but here’s a sample: Much like #5 and #4 above, you are promised to be paid $1-2 for every envelope you stuff. All you have to do is send money and you’re guaranteed “up to 1,000 envelopes a week that you can stuff… with postage and address already affixed!”

When you send your money, you get a short manual with flyer templates you’re supposed to put up around town, advertising yet another harebrained work-from-home scheme.

And the pre-addressed, pre-paid envelopes? Well, when people see those flyers, all they have to do is send you $2.00 in a pre-addressed, pre-paid envelope. Then you stuff that envelope with another flyer and send it to them.

Ingenious perhaps… but certainly illegal and unethical.

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