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Work At Home Scams

With so many people out of work, “Work at Home” type of scams are probably on the rise as people scramble to replace incomes they lost when their companies downsized. The basic premise of working at home isn’t itself a scam, plenty of people are outsourced for clerical work and various back office tasks, but like mystery shopping, it’s an area where the unsuspecting can be caught in an outright theft of their money.

With any work at home offer, look it over for the same signs I bring up about fraudulent mystery shopping companies [3]. If you ever have to pay anything, walk away. No legitimate job should ever ask you to pay something out of your pocket before you start work. Companies may require you to take tests, whether it be a classroom exam or a drug test, but you shouldn’t have to pay for it out of your own pocket (at worst, it should be deducted from your first paycheck).

As with any job, check the company’s references and talk it over with your friends. If it sounds too good to be true, approach it with care. Any company that promises you riches, whether it’s the housewife in [your home town] making $20,000 a month or the stay at home dad driving a Ferrari, it’s just not possible (unless you’re running the scam).

Common Work at Home Scams

The basic idea because a work at home scam is to get you to send them money before you get paid. So anything where you buy supplies from the company, from stuffing envelopes to simple arts and crafts type of work, is a big red flag.

Multiple level marketing schemes are also red flags in the work at home space. Not all MLM programs are scams but many of them work off the same idea – people getting their friends to buy stuff from the company. The MLM programs that are legitimate aren’t work at home programs, they’re full time jobs.

Finally, there is always the classic stuffing envelopes work at home job. This would be a pretty decent job if you can get it, but all companies have machines that stuff envelopes for them… and certainly for less than $3-4 an envelope.