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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Southern Alberta & East Kootenay
Work-at-home schemes
November 25, 2013

Woman at Computer

The typical pattern of the scheme is that the consumer or applicant receives information either by way of a classified ad in the newspaper or from a flyer through the mail offering them huge earnings with no experience necessary by working out of their homes.

There are primarily two types of work at home schemes - stuffing envelopes and assembling products. There are also directories available that the consumer may purchase which contain a list of companies offering such schemes under the guise of legitimate business. All work at home schemes have one thing in common - they all require an upfront fee.

Consumers should be realistic when considering the likelihood of such an offer. For example, have you ever had to pay money to a company in the past to receive employment? In the province of Alberta, it is against the law to charge a fee for hiring.

In terms of stuffing envelope schemes, there are machines that can stuff up to 10,000 envelopes per hour when a person can only stuff a maximum of 300 per hour. Therefore, why would somebody pay a person to do a job that can be done more efficiently by a machine? Better Business Bureau experience has revealed that after responding to a stuffing envelope scheme, one of two things will happen. The consumer either receives no reply from the company, or the consumer receives information instructing them to place an ad similar to the one that they had responded to.

The respondents then earn their money by requesting that others send them money for information on how to stuff envelopes at home, as they had initially done. Recruiting others to send money for no exchange of a product or service is known as a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are a direct violation of The Competition Act and therefore, are illegal.

Assembling product schemes also require the consumer to send an upfront fee to purchase materials. Our experience has shown that in many cases the instructions for assembling the products are very difficult to understand and the company may overestimate the potential earnings while underestimating the time requirements. In the end the company reserves the right to reject the items due to poor workmanship. Therefore, the consumer may end up keeping the products, and, of course, fail to make any money.

Ultimately consumers should exercise extreme caution when sending money in advance or when disclosing personal information to an unknown source. When searching through the classified section for employment opportunities be suspicious when an ad offers unrealistic earnings with no experience necessary. If it sounds too good to be true it usually is.