Work at Home Scams - How to Recognize One and Not Fall Victim

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Unemployment Scams

It’s sad to think that some criminals out there would stoop so low as to take advantage of the unemployed, but I guess that kind of heartlessness is what makes them criminals. With so many people losing their jobs, many folks are looking to the Internet for some kind of work. While some programs seem to promise hundreds of dollars a week, the sad truth is that the majority of them are scams and the only people who make money are the ones running the scam.

ABC News recently did a story with the owners of a website called Staffcentrix, which keeps up with online jobs and screens them for legitimacy. The co-founder, Christine Dunst, said that only 1 out of every 55 ‘work at home’ job ads you see online are legit. That means for every 55 you see, 54 of them are scams designed to rip off desperate people looking for at-home work. As sad as these numbers may be, they probably aren’t all that surprising.

Common sense prevails when dealing with online scams, but sometimes our desperation for income will lead people to take a chance and get involved in one of these programs. Do you really think you can make $700 a week just for stuffing envelopes? Do you think your opinion is so highly valued that some company will pay you hundreds of dollars a week just to take surveys? If it sounds too good to be true, there’s a 54/55 (98.2%) chance that it is.

The way most of these scams work is that they sell you on all these promises of easy money made working from home. It’s not until the end of the sales pitch, or the bottom of the website as you scroll down, that you find out there is an initial investment. Some places sell a book or booklet of information. Some even sell a starter kit. Either way, they want you to pay to get the info to start making money. As you hopefully should already expect, the only one making money is the person selling the booklets and kits. If you later complain that their information didn’t help you make any money, they’ll often just say you didn’t try hard enough.

If you see a tempting ad online for one of these ‘work from home’ type jobs, please take the following bits of advice before you go wasting any of your hard-earned income on a chance at easy money:

  • First and foremost, avoid any work at home job that requires you to buy something to get started. You wouldn’t pay somebody for a job interview, would you?
  • Avoid all job ads that involve stuffing envelopes. There are giant machines that can stuff envelopes faster than a dozen people could.
  • Always look up the name of the business or program on the BBB (Better Business Bureau) website and see what you can find out about them.
  • Use common sense. The economy is not doing so hot right now, so if the job seems like it pays way more than it should and requires little to no experience, then chances are there’s something shady going on.