How To Avoid Work-at-Home Scams and What To Do When You're A Victim
© 2004 Vishal P. Rao
As more and more people opt-out of conventional jobs and
instead choose to work from their homes, the number of
work-at-home scams has also increased. Each year thousands
of people find out the hard way that opportunities which are
too good to be true usually are but not before they invest
and waste millions of dollars a year.
You don't have to be one of those unfortunate people. All
you need to do is to become more informed, ask the
appropriate questions, and know what to do if you are the
victim of illegitimate opportunity.
Become More Informed
One of the first things you should become aware of are the
types of business opportunities which are most frequently
One of the oldest of these scams are stuffing envelopes
and/or assembling items in your home. You'll find these
opportunities in lots of sources, even some that are
legitimate. However, what most of these ads fail to say is
that you have to pay them a fee to begin. Then after you
complete your job, your work is often rejected as
substandard and, of course, you never see a penny. The other
thing that happens is that you have to send in money only to
receive instructions on how to place an ad just like the one
that you've just placed in order to bring individuals just
Another common work-at-home scams are Pyramid schemes.
Pyramid schemes are often passed off as MLM (multi-level
marketing) opportunities, but there is a key difference.
Pyramid schemes are more concerned with having you bring in
more people and less concerned with selling products. The
reason is that they aren't making their money off of selling
anything to actual customers but from taking money from
hopeful entrepreneurs like you. Most of these schemes ask
you to make an investment or a purchase in order to become a
full-fledged participant and/or to receive all of your
potential profits. Generally, you never see any of the
earnings promised in their advertisements.
If an opportunity you've found seems to fall into one of
these categories, you should start asking questions before
signing up for anything.
Ask the Appropriate Questions
Even though these work-at-home opportunities often state
that you have to act now or join by a certain time to secure
your spot, you must take the time to ask questions. Then,
don't join unless your questions are answered to your
Here are some of those questions:
1) Ask exactly what type of work you will be expected to
2) Ask how you will be paid. If you are going to be paid by
commission, be sure to ask exactly what your percentage will
3) Ask exactly how much money you need to spend, including
fees, supplies, inventory, etc.
4) Ask how long the company has been in business since
non-legitimate companies frequently change their name to go
out of business.
5) Ask to get copies of the company's sales materials and
product descriptions, so you can determine how
product-focused the company is.
Know What to Do If You Are a Victim
If you are the victim of one of these scams, then you need
to know what to do next.
Your first course of action should be to notify the company.
Talk to someone as high up in the business as possible and
be sure to make them aware that your plan to contact the
If you don't receive any satisfaction from the company, your
next step is to report the company to the authorities. You
should file a complaint with at least one, if not all, of
the organizations below:
1. The Federal Trade Commission - You can file a report
through their web site at
2. The Better Business Bureau - You can contact them through
their web site at
3. The Attorney General of Your State - You can find out how
to contact the attorney general in your area by doing a
search for 'Your State attorney general' at Google.com. The
right page should be the first or second that appears in the
The bottom line is if a business opportunity seems to good
to be true, then it's worth checking out. Any business that
tries to pressure you into making a hasty decision isn't a
business you should be working with.
Vishal P. Rao is the editor of Home Based Business
Opportunities - A web site dedicated to opportunities, ideas
and resources to help you start and run a home based
business. Visit his site at: