BBB has received hundreds of complaints from victims nationwide who never earned a dime and were, in fact, ripped off for hundreds of dollars in upfront fees.
In 2008 alone, more than one million people checked with their BBB about the legitimacy of companies that offer work-at-home jobs. Unfortunately, BBB warns that most work-at-home opportunities, such as supposed "rebate processing" jobs, are ultimately scams.
The larger offenders - which have racked up hundreds of complaints from consumers nationwide - operate under such names as Angel Stevens and Cindy Dalton with Web addresses including www.processathome.com and www.rebateprocessorjobs.com While the names might be different, the scam remains the same.
Victims stated that they paid an upfront fee anywhere from $40 to over $500 for a trial program earning money by processing rebates from home. By representing that the opportunity is affiliated with 11,000 companies including some household names like Hewlett Packard and Home Depot, complainants are deceived into thinking that the offer is legitimate.
Complainants allege that they are victims of misleading advertising and demand their money back. A few complainants who decided to try placing Internet ads to earn money became dissatisfied after spending even more money on ads and additional training, but still failed to make the amount advertised.
The marketing language on "rebate processing" Web sites makes the offer sound risk-free and usually advertises a "90 day money back guarantee" or "100% Satisfaction Guarantee," but complainants state that the companies failed to honor the guarantee. If they respond to requests for refunds at all, it's usually with an excuse for not making the refund.
BBB offers the following advice to help job hunters avoid being taken by a work-at-home scam:
Beware of offers that sound too good to be true including the promise of big bucks for little work or no experience.
Always check out the company's BBB Reliability Report for free at www.bbb.org to see if the company has received a passing grade from BBB.
Never give your credit card or checking account information to an individual or business that promises employment. Legitimate employers never charge fees to prospective employees. Period.