Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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Work at Home Schemes

Earn $500 a week from the comfort of your home. No risk. Guaranteed. No experience necessary. Just send $50 for information to get you started.

If it looks to good to be true, it probably is.
Work-home-schemes are one of the oldest types of consumer fraud. Most advertisements sound very attractive offering high earnings and short hours with little or no experience necessary. The Attorney General cautions that although some of these companies are legitimate, most are out to take your money.

Work-at-home schemes are often advertised in the classified sections of major newspapers, on the Internet, television, or mailed directly to your home. Recently, con artists have been using more sophisticated solicitation letters made in print shops or on home computers. What these types of offers don't tell you is that you may have to work many hours without pay or cover numerous hidden costs. Some work-at-home schemes require you to spend your own money to place ads in newspaper, make photocopies, or buy the envelopes, stamps, and other supplies or equipment needed to complete the job.

Common Work-at-Home Schemes:

  • Envelope Stuffing
    This type of scheme requires you to buy envelopes for stuffing, and pay for advertisements, postage, and printing. The envelopes are usually stuffed with promotional material for the company soliciting others to join the envelope-stuffing scheme. This scheme creates a continuous cycle of fraud. A fee is usually required at the beginning of the process.
  • Product Assembly
    In most assembly cases, after receiving your payment, the company sends specific instructions for you to follow, warning the items will be rejected and no money earned if the products do not meet the company's standards. The company always rejects the products for failure to meet the standards.
  • Medical Billing Records
    Advertisements for this scheme often offer high wages to manage billing and transcription services for medical companies in the area using special software. Employees must purchase the expensive software from the company sponsoring the ad. Employees then discover that local businesses are not associated with the company and the software is useless.

If you are considering answering an advertisement for a work-at-home business, make sure you ask questions before you part with any money. Contact the Better Business Bureau in the region where the business is located to see if they have any complaints on file. If you want to file a complaint regarding "work at home" schemes or other consumer issues, call the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection's toll-free HOTLINE number 1-800-441-2555.