Educational Consumer Tips

Work At Home Schemes

Author: Better Business Bureau

The following is BBB general information and is not intended as a report on any specific company.

Those who succeed by working at home have several things in common:
They have training or experience in what they are doing, they work hard and efficiently, they work for a salary, or they spend time and money developing the market for their work.

They have not stumbled onto a magic formula for getting rich quick. Even in this new world of telecommunications, the same old rule applies: to be successful, you must work hard and work smart. If you want to work at home, you have reason to be cautious. Many people are victimized by work-at-home schemes, and they are costing consumers more money than ever. The old schemes in which a consumer can lose ten or twenty dollars are still around, but there are also new schemes that rob victims of thousands of dollars. 
If you are tempted by work-at-home promotions offering "easy money," remember that you have a lot at stake. You can: 
*Lose money: Consumers have lost amounts ranging from $10 to more than $70,000. 

*Damage your reputation: You may find you have unintentionally sold your customers bad or nonexistent products or services. 
*Risk becoming the focus of a legal investigation: You may be held responsible if you perpetrate a fraud by promoting and selling a fraudulent product or service to others. 
*Lose valuable time: You may expend a lot of effort on a work-at-home scheme that gives you nothing in return. Be skeptical about work-at-home promotions that include statements such as: 
   1.)You can earn big money with little effort. "Earn hundreds in your spare time!" 

   2.)No experience necessary. "Our people have come from all walks of life and have succeeded with no Special Training!" 
   3.)There is a "new market" for your work. "This huge untapped market is waiting for you!" 

   4.)You need to invest only an insignificant amount of money for training or materials. "Only $29.95 will bring you thousands in earning power!" 

   5.)You will not be paid a regular salary. "Profits will start rolling in with your first completed item!"

   6.)Don't wait to make your decision. "Save money by making your decision today! Popular demand will force us to raise our rates soon!" 
   7.)Many others just like you have succeeded. "I was a failure until this offer changed my life!" 

   8.)You are especially privileged to learn about this opportunity. "This valuable information has not been shared with the general public before!" 

Some classic work-at-home schemes are:
*Medical Billing: These schemes usually require consumers to purchase a package that includes a list of clients and software that allows them to process medical claims. However, the client list is usually from an out-of-date database, and the software often does not work and/or is unauthorized. Medical billing is a competitive field and most doctors offices process claims themselves or through established companies, not home workers. 
*Envelope Stuffing: Normally, envelope stuffing involves getting a letter from the company telling you to place the same "envelope-stuffing" ad in newspapers and magazines, or to send the ad to friends and relatives. The only way you'll get money is if someone responds to your ad. 
*Assembly or craftwork: Many of these programs require you to buy the equipment and supplies, promising payment when you return the completed work. However, operators often will not pay for the completed work, claiming the finished product does not meet the quality standards of the company. 
New variations continually appear in: 
*Popular magazines 
*Tabloid Newspapers 
*Direct mail solicitations 
*Cable television infomercials 
*Telephone solicitations 
*Classified ads 
*Hand-distributed flyers 
*Business opportunity trade shows 
*The Internet 
*Business journals 
If the company refuses to refund your investment, contact: 
Better Business Bureau 
(800) 828-5000 
NYS Attorney General 
(800) 771-7755
The NYS Consumer Protection Board 
5 Empire State Plaza, Suite 2101
Albany, NY 12223 
(518) 474-8583 
Postal Mail Fraud Center 
(800) 372-8347 
This information is general in nature and is not intended as a Business Review on any company, product, or service.