Make thousands of dollars weekly....work from home...easy money, no experience required! The old adage, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" certainly applies to many work-from-home business "opportunities." While there are legitimate ways to make money working from home, unscrupulous people are using the Internet to bring business scams right to you via your computer. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports that work-at-home businesses generate the most inquiries, and that they account for 20% of the grievances received by the BBB's online complaint service.
A recent article in USA Today reported that with the recent economic downturn, work-at-home schemes have skyrocketed. Nearly 8,000 were reported in 2009, up from 4,004 in 2006. The Internet has made getting a phony ad or message out to a huge audience easy and inexpensive. These scams prey on the vulnerable and susceptible: senior citizens, the disabled, mothers who want to stay at home with their children, people with low income and few job skills, and people who are enticed by the idea of getting lots of money for little effort.
Warning Signs & Typical Scams
To avoid being a victim of unethical work-at-home scams, the Better Business Bureau suggests looking for the following warning signs:
• Overstated claims of product effectiveness
• Exaggerated claims of potential earnings, profits, or part-time earnings
• Claims of "inside" information
• Requirements of money for instructions or products before telling you how the plan works
• Claims of "no experience necessary"
Some of the most common scams include assembly work at home, chain letters, envelope stuffing, pyramid schemes, processing medical insurance claims, and Twitter workers. Examine opportunities closely, especially those that require you invest money upfront. (Learn more from the BBB.)
What to Do if You are Victimized
The Better Business Bureau says that if you become a victim of a work-at-home scheme, first ask the company for a refund. If they refuse or give you an evasive response, tell them you plan to notify law enforcement officials.
Make sure to keep careful records of everything you do to recover your money. Document your phone calls (date, time, the person to whom you spoke, notes on the conversation), keep copies of all paperwork such as letters and receipts, and record all costs involved, including the time you spend. If the company refuses to refund your investment, contact your local Better Business Bureau, your local or state consumer affairs agency or your state’s attorney general's office (or the office in the state where the company resides).
The Bottom Line
Working from home can be a good way of earning money-if the business is legitimate. The bottom line is that to avoid being duped, you need to proceed cautiously and research carefully before investing any money in a work-at-home business.
If you would like professional assistance with finding out if self-employment is the right option for you, we invite you to look into our career coaching services. After reading about our services, you can schedule a free consultation session to discuss which career services would best meet your needs. We would consider it a privilege to help you discover who God has created you to be and what He has designed you to do!