Make MONEY - Avoid Work at Home SCAMS
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Work from Home - how to avoid scams and cons

woman on pc phoning to check on a company
Avoid Work at Home scams

The web offers some great ways to earn extra cash but it also offers even more ways to lose it. For every honest and legitimate home work opportunity, there seem to be ten scams, so it's vital that you research thoroughly before you sign up to anything.

Advance Fee Fraud

Firstly, be very wary of any Work from Home job that asks you for money up front.

You may be asked for money as a registration fee, for essential materials, for training or simply to get the information or ebook that promises to tell you how to get rich fast.

But however promising 'the offer' looks , it's unlikely to be worth what you're being asked to pay.

Scammers like to target the needy, vulnerable and desperate as they are more likely to take the scam at face value. If you're desperate to earn fast cash, the chance to make money quickly can make you throw caution to the wind.

You can easily be tricked into signing up to something that will not make you any money, and even worse could lose you money, leave you a victim of identity theft and possibly even facing criminal proceedings.

The most popular internet-based Work at Home scams revolve around e-books and 'data entry' jobs, which promise you will make hundreds or thousands of pounds, euros or dollars a day.

How to spot a scam website

They are big on testimonials and usually short on information as to what the wonderful money-making idea is.

They generally contain a lot of marketing hype that promises, in various ways, how your life will be changed if you sign up, e.g. 'I made $3500 in the first day online - two months ago I was broke and now I have a speedboat!'

Many sites will use big print, highlighted text , BLOCK CAPITALS and bold text to make sure that you understand how much you can earn by following the plan.

Finally, a scam site is usually difficult to leave, it'll bring up pop-up windows, special offers and discounts in a last-ditch effort to get hold of your cash.

cat and mouse on laptop

'it says we get it half price if I click today...'

What do you get for your investment?

If it's an e-book reselling opportunity, then you'll generally receive out of copyright or specially written material which will be of very limited use and value.

Why limited use and value? Well, if it was any good it would be in a real book and sold on Amazon - not distributed free on the web.

Either that, or it's made up of information that's in the public domain and already available for free.

Top 10 ways to avoid being scammed

Don't get ripped-off. Do your research!

Research the opportunity - ask questions and don't go ahead until they are fully answered. What will the total cost be? What do I get for my money? Who pays me and is it a salary or commission? Use a search engine to check out the offer. Enter the company, business or website name, then search it again with 'review', 'scam', 'sucks' or 'rip off' as part of your query - you'll be amazed at what this returns.
Ask yourself why you are being presented with the opportunity. What does the seller have to gain? If the money-making potential is that great, why doesn't the seller do it himself, get his friends and relations to do it or pay a room full of people minimum wage to do it?
Ignore testimonials and 'real-life' stories - they are easy to write, mean nothing and are often used to push the unwary into clicking on that 'buy' button.
Don't send any money. No really - don't. There are lots of ways to make money at home without parting with your own cash to do it - check out our FREE ideas!
Subject to 4 above, if you must send anyone money DO NOT GIVE YOUR CREDIT CARD OR BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS - use Paypal or a similar service. Don't use money transfer services to pay someone you've never met. Online fraud is becoming more and more sophisticated, so be wary of fake escrow services and sites that try to look like banks, or money transfer services. If you aren't sure then don't use it.
If you want a refund how can you get it? Is there a telephone number? Address? (Be extra cautious if there is no address, or just a PO Box ) Money back guarantees may promise much but deliver little - once the scammer has your cash, he's not likely to return it.
Don't send any money unless you are prepared to lose it. Web forums are full of people who borrowed money to raise the necessary cash to buy a 'business opportunity' and then found they didn't earn a penny. Scammers prey on the poor and desperate - they really don't care whether you can afford to lose the money or not.
Discuss the idea with with family or friends. Seek advice from consumer groups, your local council's trading standards department, citizens advice and watchdogs, etc.
Be suspicious and don't allow yourself to be pressured into signing up in a hurry. A favourite tactic of the scammer is to put a time limit on a deal - 'if you sign up right away it's much cheaper', or 'there are only two places left' etc. A legitimate business won't mind you taking time to think about things or take advice.
If it sounds too good to be true, then it is!

couple disappointed by paid survey earningsWhat about getting paid to shop or fill in surveys?

Taking surveys or acting as a 'mystery shopper' can be a genuine Work at Home job opportunity, which can ask for a registration or joining fee.

But be careful as there are lots of make money online scams out there. Think about it - if the earnings are as great as they say then why do you have to pay up front? If it's not a rip off then surely they could make it free to join, and then take the joining or registration fee out of your first couple of days earnings.

Some are genuine and offer limited earning opportunities, but treat them with care and don't hand over any money unless you can afford to lose it. You might make a little cash if you're lucky, but it will be limited by the amount of time you can spend on-line. Paid surveys are fine for a little extra cash if you are housebound and would just be surfing anyway, but they are not really a viable second income source.

Always read the small print and you'll see that while all these kind of sites are big on headlines showing huge earnings, they don't actually guarantee that you'll earn anything.

Read more about internet scams and find legitimate ways to earn money with your PC

Well-known Scam 'opportunities' exposed


Envelope stuffing

Envelope stuffing - No, No, NO - all you'll receive in return for your fee is a letter telling you to stuff envelopes with flyers asking people to send you a registration fee to learn how to...err stuff envelopes.

These days all commercial mailings are automated and there is virtually no requirement for homeworkers to stuff envelopes.

Stuffing envelopes used to be accepted as a genuine way to earn extra cash, when working from home. But since the 1950's, bulk commercial mailing has become more automated with sophisticated machinery able to print, fold and insert letters and mailshots into envelopes.

Modern computer-controlled machinery now completes the work of envelope stuffing much faster and cheaper than humans (even those from third-world countries willing to work below the UK minimum wage).

There is no demand for people to manually stuff a couple of hundred envelopes a day at home, when a machine can stuff hundreds of thousands of envelopes in the same period. It just is not viable to employ anybody to stuff envelopes by hand anymore, and it has now become a well known scam targeting vulnerable and unemployed people.

More on Envelope Stuffing

Is male escort work a scam?

Adverts looking for men to work as escorts are pretty much guaranteed to be nothing more than a quick way of losing your money!

The male escort scam works like this: you call the number on the advert and after a quick chat the person on the other end says:

working as a male escort

'You sound just like the kind of guy we need. We have lots of work for you but we can't start you until you've paid the registration fee'. (This can be hundreds of pounds/dollars).

If you're dumb enough to pay this, the 'definite' work will vanish to be replaced by a whole range of excuses. In practice, there is pretty much zero demand for male escorts, so don't be taken in by the promises made on the websites.

Read the small print - none of them guarantee you will be required for a 'date', and none will pay your joining fee back.

Similar Scams

This scam is a variation on the old car advert. You advertise your car in the local paper, or online, and get a call from an agency or website saying that they have a buyer looking for exactly the vehicle you're selling. However, they can't send the contact info until you pay to register. If you pay, then 'Sorry, the buyer we told you about just found a car, but we'll keep your details on file/on site.' Don't expect to hear anything soon - you've just bought another expensive car advert.

The same applies to working at chat and sex line services - there is no demand for males to work in chat apart from a small market for gay chat lines!

Arts and Crafts or assembly

This popular make money from home scam can easily part you from your money by asking for an up-front fee for materials and instructions. Once you've sent your hard-earned cash, you'll receive either:

A: Nothing


B: A selection of materials to assemble, paint, decorate or whatever and send back to head office on completion.

Two things are practically certain : the materials, if you receive them, will be worth a small percentage of the amount you are asked to pay for them and you won't receive any payment if you do complete the work. Your efforts will be rejected and returned as having failed quality control. Money back guarantees for home work are rarely honoured - once you've parted with your cash, it's unlikely that you'll ever see it again.

Data entry or administrative work

Some ask for a set up fee and some don't, but all these 'jobs' offer the scammer the chance to rip off the applicant in a number of ways:

Get the full story on so-called 'data entry jobs'. Visit our Home Data Entry Jobs page for more information on Data Entry Scams

Find out more about scams schemes from Consumer Advice Guide (opens in new window ) more on scams (opens in new window )

More information on scams, cheats and frauds (open in new window ): - avoid work at home scams and general advice

Financial Conduct Authority - warnings on investment scams

Action Fraud - the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre


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