Thread: Working at Home
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Old December 9th, 2003, 09:42 AM   #79
LiamFan!'s Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 2,048
Here's some good info from the Better Business Bureau's website:

Closely examine any offer which promises or guarantees income from work at home programs. If it sounds too good to be true, chances are that it's a scam. Consider it a warning sign if a worker must buy something in order to start the program. Those interested also should take into consideration that, by becoming involved in a work at home scheme, they might well be perpetrating a fraud by selling the program to others, and risk investigation by postal authorities. Work at home con artists have always preyed on 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 just want to get rich quick. A Home Work Scheme Promoter Will:

-Never offer you a regular salaried employment

-Promise you huge profits and big part time earnings

-Use personal testimonials but never identify the person so that you can check with them -Require money for instructions or merchandise before telling you how the plan operates -Assure you of guaranteed markets and a huge demand for your handiwork -Tell you that no experience is necessary -Take your money and give you little or nothing in return except for heartbreak and grief

Common scams and schemes:

Assembly Work at Home - This scheme requires you invest hundreds of dollars in instructions and materials and many hours of your time to produce items for a company that has promised to buy them. Once you have purchased the supplies and have done the work, the company often decides not to pay you because your work does not meet certain "standards." You are then left with merchandise that is difficult or impossible to sell.

Chain Letters - The only people who benefit from chain letters are the mysterious few at the top of the chain who constantly change names, addresses and post office boxes. They attempt to intimidate you by threatening bad luck, or try to impress you by describing themselves as successful professionals who know all about non-existent sections of alleged legal codes.

Envelope Stuffing - You often receive only instructions on how to go into the business of placing the same kind of ad the advertiser ran in the first place instead of items to stuff into envelopes. According to the US Postal Inspection Service, "The Inspection Service knows of no work at home promotion that ever produces income as alleged."

Multi-Level Marketing - This is a well-established, legitimate form of business. Many people have successfully sold the products of reputable companies to their neighbors and co-workers. These people are independent distributors who sell popular products and also recruit other distributors to join them. On the other hand, illegitimate pyramid schemes emphasize recruiting others to join the program, not on selling the product. For a time, new recruits who make the investment to buy samples keep money coming into the system, but very few products are sold. Sooner or later, the people on the bottom are stuck with a saturated market, and they cannot make money by selling products or recruiting. When the whole system collapses, only a few people at the top have made money. On-Line Home Business - Typical these uninvited email opportunities get you to pay for a useless guide to work at home jobs.

Processing Medical Insurance Claims - Usually at a trade show at a hotel or convention center, you will be urged to buy software programs or computers at exorbitant prices, told that your work will be coordinated with insurance companies by a central computer, required to pay for expensive training sessions, and pressured to make a decision immediately. Most likely, the expensive training sessions are superficial, and the market for your services very small or nonexistent. The promoter may delay the processing of your job, citing a backlog or mistakes in your work. There may also be no central computer as advertised. You may be left with no way to deliver what you have promised your clients or customers - if you found any - and with no way to earn any money on your own.

If you become a victim of a work at home scheme, ask the company for a refund. If they refuse or give you an evasive response, tell them you plan to notify law enforcement officials. Keep careful records of everything you do to recover your money. If the company refuses to refund your investment, contact the BBB, the Department of Consumer Affairs, US Postal Service, State Attorney General, and/or the advertising manager of the publication that ran the ad you answered.

As of March 2000, the Federal Trade Commission, the Justice Department of the United States, State Attorneys General, and State Securities officials began a national crackdown of these work-at-home schemes. Currently, they have filed complaints against 68 fraudulent business promoters. Some of these scams include stuffing envelopes, medical billing opportunities, and pay phone and vending machine operations. The FTC recommends that consumers get all earnings claims in writing. This should also include a number and percentage of recent or current clients who have earned at least as much as the promoter's claims. Consumers should request a list of at least 10 references of people who have been successful at the venture in their local area that would include names, addresses and phone numbers.
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