Scams

Work From Home Scams

Unfortunately, although you will find hundreds of homeworking vacancies advertised in seemingly reputable newspapers and magazines, the vast majority are no more than rip-offs and are not offering any genuine work at all.

First of all, you need to distinguish between companies offering homework, and those offering a business opportunity. There are many genuine home business opportunities available, but you should be wary of any that claim it is easy to make vast sums of money in a short space of time, or that say you need little or no money to start up. To be successful in any business you will need to let people know that you are out there i.e. advertise. There is no point skimping on advertising costs, be it placement of the ads, stationery, brochures, mailing lists or any other costs. A good company will make you aware of this at the outset. Look at our business opportunities page for suggestions.

If you are based in the UK, please click here for the UK site.

Home Working Scams

Homeworking Scams fall into three main categories; directory scams, recruitment scams and craftwork scams.

Directory Scams. If a company is claiming to offer a variety of different types of work it is usually not offering any work at all, but is selling a directory – usually between $10 and $50 – of other companies claimimng to offer work. Sometimes the company will actually tell you it is selling a directory of hundreds of companies offering homework, but what you will actually receive for your money is a list of companies who almost all want their own registration fee and will fall into one of these three scam categories, assuming that is they still exist or are even looking for workers. The remainder will be such things as lists of shopping catalogues. There can’t be many people who don’t already know about these. Also, don’t be taken in by companies offering to refund your fee if you don’t find work. Their conditions make this impossible.

Recruitment Scams There are two types of recruitment scams. You’ve probably seen the first, and less serious of these in newsagents’ windows among other places offering homeworking opportunities. You are told that you will be paid for envelope filling, or redirecting envelopes at anything from 25c per envelope to $1.50 per envelope. You usually pay a registration fee in the region of $15 and may get a homeworking directory for this price. (see above) However it is dressed up, all you are doing is trying to recruit other people into the same scheme, so you only earn your money by riping off other people. Don’t get involved.

The second type of recruitment scam is far more serious and shows no sign of going away, in that you are either being duped into handling stolen funds or you give sufficient information about yourself for your own identity to be stolen. This is covered in more detail in our newsletters of November and December 2004 I’ve also come across another report also written in 2004, which is as valid today as it was then. Visit http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5424542/ to find out how one jobseeker ended up actually being arrested as an accomplice to a crime, as a result of responding to one of these ads. Similar job scams have been around for years but shows no sign of going away. Take a look at this report from 2002 – http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3078533/ where the job offer was solely created for identity theft purposes.

Craft Scams You may see these in newsagents windows, but more often these will appear in local and national newspapers. You are invited to send a registration fee to a company for a start-up kit for making up items, to return to them on completion. Unfortunately, when you receive the kit you will either find sub-standard or inappropriate materials, or missing instructions and that they take considerably longer to complete than the advert suggested. This however, is largely irrelevant as the company will invariable reject your finished goods on the basis that they fail their spurious quality standards. It will not be possible to meet these standards as the companies have no intention of paying out any money. See below for a more detailed explanation using the claims of one particular company.

If you really wish to make the items offered by these companies you should consider buying the materials from a craft supplier and selling through local shops, stalls etc. Most small shops will be happy to sell on sale or return. If you don’t know where to begin, take a look at the books listed on the craft page

There are also many chain letters doing the rounds. You are asked to send $1 or $5 to each person on the list and then circulate the letter to 200 or more people. You will spend a fortune on postage and mailing lists and get nothing back. Don’t do it! The only use for these lists is to use the names to compile your own mailing list.

Also avoid companies offering get-rich-quick schemes, without telling you what is involved. In almost every case they are merely selling you a manual containing nothing you don’t already know, often simply a few pages telling you to send out mailshots like the one you signed up from.

E-Mail Scams A new development has been the use of e-mail to try to recruit people into scams. In some cases these are simply being used as an alternative to direct mail eg chain letters and flyers from companies. Others are sent out giving the impression you can actually earn from home using your computer. eg.

We are currently hiring serious homeworkers. Positions: home typist, clerk, secretary, supervisor. Earn $3500 – $5000 per month! Experience is not necessary. Part time/full time. Anywhere in the world! Apply now!

However these turn out to be no more than an e-mail version of the envelope scams above. By sending out hundreds of e-mails you earn a few pence (or more often cents) for each response you get. Of course you’ve had to pay a “deposit” to deter “timewasters” which you only get back when you’ve conned the required number of potential homeworkers and even if you do manage to generate sufficient enquiries the chances are that the company will find excuses not to pay you.

Virus Warnings Although there is no financial implication here, another version of the chain letter is the virus warning where you are told about a supposedly deadly computer virus and told to pass the message on to everyone you know. These viruses are usually totally ficticious and cause panic to the uninitiated. To avoid worrying about viruses or passing on scaremongering bogus information, you should always have up to date anti-virus software on your computer if you use the Internet. They are incredibly easy to use. You simply buy or download one if you didn’t get one with your computer and then log into their site to update at regular intervals. Don’t just install it and forget about it as new viruses are being developed all the time. Contrary to what you might expect, it isn’t expensive to keep up to date with an annual subscription being only about £10 – £15. My personal favourite is Norton, but don’t rush out and buy a copy. You can get a free 6 months subscription, as part of Google’s latest selection of free software. Just click on the banner below, or visit our freebies page for further details of the contents.

Free E-Books

Starting Your Internet Business Right” is a FREE twenty-section EBook answering the most frequently asked questions of people looking to operate a business online .

There is a chapter in the EBook that talks about and identifies Internet Business scams and schemes that cheat new Net business operators out of millions of dollars every year. This section explains how the scams work, and what to watch for to avoid them.

Scam Free Zone: Scam Tip Offs: – This hard-hitting e-book covers just about every type of scam you’ll find online! A professional PDF file by the Online Scam Expert, Neil Shearing. (Just a ten-second download with a 56K modem.)

Examples Of Homeworking Offers To Avoid

If you’ve had any bad experiences, let me know and I’ll add the details here. These are just a very small cross section of the many scams around, to give you an idea of the sort of claims made.

Any company offer assembly work outside their own country is unquestionably a scam, where the only money changing hand is registration fees. There is absolutely no economic justification for incurring additional shipping costs when local unskilled labour is always available, at a lower cost. Your only chance of ever seeing your money back would be to recruit others into the same program and get a cut of their registration fee.

The following relates to TRD Systems, Inc http://trdsystems.com who ask for a $250 deposit! but the points raised apply equally to many other “offers” of work.

In this specific example, there are key points which highlight the scam:

  1. You are not visiting an official company site but a free website and free e-mail address with autoresponder, obviously created by someone with no money or computing skills who therefore must be on commission for any recruitment
  2. The company claim “The job does not require technical skills. Once you become comfortable with the assembly procedure, we’ll show you how to set up a simple assembly line that enables you to complete up to 6 Modulators per hour.” but they then go no to claim they will pay you ” $7.50 + postage for each completed Modulator. $7.50 x 6 = $45 / hour” If the work is as straightforward as they claim, why pay so much? If they don’t have enough work to warrant opening a factory then why do they need to advertise worldwide and offer excessive pay packages? If they do have enough work to offer internationally, then they would be far better off opening a factory and paying a few dollars an hour, (or less in parts of Asia).
  3. They claim “CONTINOUS WORK IS GUARANTEED!”. If they really had continuous work for everybody on the planet, don’t you think they would be a household name worldwide. Name me a single company in the world that could employ everyone in the world at $45 an hour
  4. They state “We are snowed under with calls from our distributors and unable to talk to anyone about the contractors job. Sorry.” No legitimate company hides from its employees
  5. Ludicrous claims to justify the actioneg “Let’s just say we own an electronic manufacturing company employing 50 people. No matter how careful we are, one employee can wipe us out. Just one disgruntled employee, and one high powered lawyer, can make our life a nightmare. Presently in America we’re witnessing an enormous rise in the already staggering number of employee lawsuits.The best way to avoid being victimized by a situation like this, is to do exactly what we’re doing…farm out the work.”All companies have insurance to cover such an eventuality.
  6. Glossing over valid points “We didn’t want to go to Taiwan!” without saying why not, as this is where these items are made for every other company at a far lower cost.
  7. “Please do not mail letters which require our signature! When we are not present at the instant the mailman rings, he takes the letter back to the Post Office. We have no time to drive there and stand in line.” What sort of company doesn’t have anybody present during office hours?

PLUS the items you manufacture have to go into making a product. They are not the product themselves so what happens to them. Surely they must be being at the very least boxed up for onward transmission to another company. If there are thousands of assemblers worldwide producing 6 items an hour, this adds up to a lot of mail. It’s not like one letter for a house. We’re talking about truck loads every day. You’re not going to be popping down to the post office and queuing up to pick up thousands of assembled units. Just 1000 workers worldwide producing 40 items each is 10,000 deliveries a week. Does this sound like something the postman would just leave on an empty doorstep (and remember they don’t need business premises because of the threat of legislation and costs of implementing red tape!)?

I could go on, but I hope by now you are beginning to understand how implausible this offer of work really is.

The following is a typical example of what happens when you do fall for the sales pitch and send in your “deposit”

Procraft International, Telford, Shropshire, UK

“Their claim was that if I sent £25 they would furnish me with materials to make things like computer files, pop-up greetings cards, and a list of about 10 other items for which I would be paid handsomely once they were returned to them (and then be reimbursed my £25).

I sent for the materials for the computer file and was sent one for trial, which is fair enough. But the “materials” were so shabby, it was impossible to create anything decent . The so-called vinyl outer material was nothing more than a thin crepe type of quality and the lining wouldn’t have made even a decent duster! The “support” for creating the shape of the box was to be supplied by myself from an empty packet of cornflakes! This magnificent article when finished, I was assured, was to retail at £18 and I would be receiving a third of this for each one produced.

“This is only the trial package”, I convinced myself, “the tester to see if I’m up to scratch for them – coz they know full well that you must be darned good if you can make something out of this!!”.

I was wrong. I returned a right shambles (in my opinion) to them with a note saying that this was the best I could offer and that there would be much improvement when they sent me the real thing. That was the real thing. So not only did I not get paid for that, my deposit wasn’t forthcoming either. The letter went on to say “however if you wish to have another attempt then please contact us and we will despatch more materials. No way was I going to struggle with that rubbish again, so in order to attempt to retrieve my £25 I asked for the “pop-up cards”. The quality was undescribable without swearing.”

Aspar Trading Co.Ltd., P.O.Box 52236, 4062 Limassol, Cyprus

You reply to an advertisement which states something along the lines of:

We are currently hiring serious homeworkers. Positions: home typist, clerk, secretary, supervisor. Earn $3500 – $5000 per month! Experience is not necessary. Part time/full time. Anywhere in the world! Apply now!

They return with a well written letter offering the possibility of several options in the way of typing work – the sting in the tail being they want a deposit up front of $100! They say “We are only interested in SERIOUS homeworkers to work for us. For that reason we must ask for a one-time deposit of US$100. This is NO FEE. It is a DEPOSIT that will be refunded to you when you have earned your first US$100. This is necessary to protect both you and us from unserious (sic) job seekers.

If you’re desperate enough to send your $100, you’ll then find you simply send out more e-mails along the lines of the one above and supposedly earn for each reply you receive, once you receive 500. Unfortunately, not only are you then actively encouraging others into the scam in a desperate bid to get back your money, but the company then come out with a selection of excuses as to why they won’t pay before ignoring you altogether. With only an e-mail address and a Cypriot P.O. Box address there’s not a lot more you can do.

Many US companies make very similar offers to the one above. They all sound as if they are offering typing or other admin work but actually offer no more than a simple envelope stuffing scam.

Here’s another typical experience:

TypeAtHome.com

They are listed as typeathome.com with their company named TRC – for TECHNICAL RESEARCH CONSULTANTS. They are located at 2222 Michelson Suite 222-103, Irvine Ca. 92612. Supposedly the company is looking to expand it’s marketing campaign for future mailing advertisements. The typist job is to type labels from their lists. The setup cost is $49.99 payable to TRC.

In the beginning they would send you sheets of paper with the names which in turn you had to type on labels and return to them together with a pay sheet. Then their program changed and they were going to only send checks out on the 15th and 30th of each month. On the check would be the website to get your next assignment. For example one website was: www.ieasysite.com/usa/techresearches_010.htm. I thought it was a great idea at the time. If you try to bring up the link you will not see the list of names and addresses as previously listed. Already checked while writing this email. Because I live in NJ and they are based in Ca – the difference in mail time was about 4 days to receive or for them to get my work.

I rec’d $20 in checks for the work done in Feb & March. I did not receive my check in April until April 8th with the website on it. I mailed out my assignment of work on April 15, knowing it would never reach them for the check processing date of the 12th.

I never rec’d a check for this work I submitted nor an explanation as to why no further assignments were mailed to me. I did ask if I could get additional assignment and mail them all together. Again it was on deaf ears. Have written them many times and no one answers my emails. But if you pretend to be a NEW customer you will get a reply to your email inquiry.

NHES National Homeworkers Employment Service

The Attorney General has stated NHES has to pay over $15,000 in damages to the people who lost money. You can find out more about this scam from http://www.dotcommommies.com/scamnhes.html If you are newly scammed by NHES then you need to file a report with the Attorney General ASAP. You can contact the Illinois Attorney General, Consumer Fraud Division, at 217-782-1090. NHES is still scamming people and the Attorney General has been notified. They still have a live website at www.nhes.net

Sources of Advice

SCAMclub.com is a place where you can report ANY injustice that has been done to you through companies. The best part of SCAMclub is that it is FREE! Click Here to sign up or just view existing reports.

Internet ScamBuster’s Top 10 Scams

A personal selection of the top scams from Scambusters.org, including the Nigerian e-mail scam (now updated to include similar requests from Taliban leaders and other war affected countries).

CYBER CRIMINALS MOST WANTED calls itself The First One-Stop Cybercrime Awareness, Prevention and Safety Website. What more can I say? Includes links to news stories worldwide about scams, and explanations of various scams.

For more advice on fraud and scams, visit our advice page

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