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The 9 Most Popular Work At Home Scams Exposed

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mystery Shopper


1) Rebate processing from home is one of the most popular frauds going. The job seeker is not processing the company’s orders, as initially promised. He/she has to put up a web site, pay for ads on other web sites, and hopefully sell products, usually through Clickbank. The only processing done is filling out the forms once a sale has been made!  

2) Auction listing processors scams are becoming more and more widespread. For $200 the buyer pays for a course that teaches how to auction Clickbank products on eBay. The promise is usually $13 payment per sale – but only if the item is sold! The buyer is led to believe money is made by tediously filling out forms. But those forms are from sales that he, not the auction listing company, makes. 

3) Instant, turnkey, “Biz-In-A-Box” online businesses are ready-to-go with promises of “easy wealth building” and “fast cash”. The products can be anything from vitamins to web-hosting to other work- at- home scams. But most often the opportunity seeker is selling the exact opportunity he just bought in to – to others. Money is made only by paying for ads around the web and scamming other seekers. 

4) Money forwarding scams originate from foreign countries and enlist the job seeker to receive checks, deposit them in his own bank account, then wire most of the money to the hiring company, keeping a healthy % for himself. Not surprisingly, the checks are fake and bounce, but not before the victim has already wired the money abroad. Most banks will seize the victim’s deposits. 

5) Desperate requests for workers to do basic data entry with good pay are common and take a variety of forms. This type of work is in high demand but in short supply. Legitimate home data entry companies have lengthy waiting lists. No firm is desperate and money is usually asked up front. These offers usually turn out to be pyramid schemes, affiliate marketing businesses, or business tutorials and courses. 

6) “Get Rich Taking Surveys” are a total lie. Some people make $1 to $5, but only when the surveys become available. No one gets rich or makes a living from online surveys. If the company asks for an up-front fee, then you know it’s a scam. 

7) Package forwarding can send you to the slammer. The job seeker receives light electronics, fills out official customs forms, and sends them to another country. The company promises to pay you for the work and for the shipping. In fact the victim is being used by thieves who had bought the goods with stolen credit cards. Not only will the victim not get paid, but some forwarders in the U.S. have been arrested for shipping stolen property. 

8) In the Mystery Shopper scam, the victim is sent an authentic looking cashier’s check and sent to a usually upscale store to purchase an item and report back on the quality of customer service. The unspent amount is then wired back to the company. Later, the bank discovers the check is a fraud and the victim is on the hook for the entire amount. Check out the Mystery Shopping Providers Association website (mysteryshop.org) for authentic providers. 

9) The Envelope Stuffing scam has been around for a long time. The scammer charges a fee to teach you how to make money stuffing envelopes. Either you never hear from them again, or you receive instructions on how to place ads on the internet and scam others exactly as you were scammed!

Karen E. Klein of Bloomburg Businessweek advises: 

“With today’s technology and a few minutes of due diligence, no one should fall for such schemes. Many sites offer free research tools that can help check out companies, individuals, and websites, such as: 
Copyscape.com and  TinEye.com. To find out whether a company is legitimate, type its name plus the word “scam” or “sucks” into a search engine and look to see if it has been listed at consumer protection sites like RipoffReport.com.”

Bottom Line from Linsey Knerl (wisebread.com):

“Being informed is still the best defense against fraud. Don't rush into any job without evidence that it's a good fit, and never jump at a promise of fast cash or unrealistic earnings in exchange for little time or skill investment. Good jobs are out there, but as with any employment opportunity, they require talent and effort to obtain.” 

The internet has many reliable sites that provide a wealth of information and warnings of current scams. Along with the 5 web sites listed by Karen E. Klein, some of the most popular are:

Christine Durst and Michael Haaren, Work at Home Now: A No-Nonsense Guide to Finding Your Perfect Home-Based Job, Avoiding Scams, and Making a Great Living, Career Press, 2010

Karen E. Klein, “Spotting Home-Based Business Scams”, Bloomburg Businessweek, July 19, 2012

Photo:  Marco Bellucci (flickr CC)     

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.

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