Work from home scams are a sad fact of life. A lot of people blame them on the internet, but the truth is that these scams have certainly been around as long as the post office, and probably longer. They used to be run by mail, out of a post office box, with advertising in newspapers, magazines, bulletin boards or leaflets through your door.
These days, the advertisements often arrive in the form of email. Why? Because it’s cheap. In fact, it’s virtually free. There are no direct mailing costs. The spammer (it’s usually spam) has to pay for a web server to send the email from, but this does not cost very much. Still, the ads themselves are often the same old thing that they always were.
1. The Stuffing Envelopes Scam
Filling and addressing envelopes for direct advertising was something that used to be outsourced to homeworkers decades ago, before the invention of word processing and mass mailout machines. These days, it is virtually all done by mailing companies. They can print addresses to look like handwriting if that is what the advertiser wants, and do thousands of envelopes fast and cheaply.
If you see an advertisement telling you to send $10 to find out how to make money by stuffing envelopes, it will probably be a scam. All you will receive will be a letter telling you to put up ads in your local area to have people send you $10 to find out how to make money by stuffing envelopes, so that you can send them the same letter. That is if anybody even replies.
2. The Pyramid Scheme Scam
Pyramid schemes are based around the idea that you pay a sum of money, say $10, then recruit 10 people who pay you, so you make $90. For example you have probably seen a chain letter or email that tells you to send a certain amount to the person at the top of a list, then add your name to the bottom of the list and send the letter on to everybody that you know. That is a pyramid scheme.
Pyramid schemes are illegal. They are different from multi level marketing programs, where you may again aim to recruit a certain number of customers but they are buying a product. If people are buying a product or service that is worth the money, it’s generally OK. If they are just handing over money for nothing, it’s an illegal scam.
3. The Computer Software Scam
This is an updated version of the old work from home scams where you would be sold expensive equipment that would enable you to do some highly skilled job that you were told was in high demand.
For example, when doctors began having to submit claims electronically in the USA, a demand grew up for people to do that for them. They didn’t want to have to buy the special software themselves and then have their skilled nursing staff waste time entering data.
So companies that made this type of software, began marketing it as something that you could do at home. ‘Just spend $500 on our software, train yourself in 24 hours and start making money entering data for doctors!’ said the ads.
A lot of people fell for it, bought the software and then found they had no clients. The doctors were all giving their business to large, reputable data entry companies. They didn’t want random home workers to have access to their patients’ confidential records. The aspiring home workers were out $500 and a lot of wasted time.
Whenever you see an ad that says ‘Buy this and then make $x by using it’, be suspicious. Is there really a demand for the skills that you will have? If not, it could be one of the many work from home scams.
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