Those Oh So Tempting Work at Home Ads
We've all seen those tempting work at home ads at one time or another. And probably have even been tempted to call them. You know the ones.
"Make $2000 a week stuffing envelopes in your home!"
"Earn thousands of dollars per month - from home - processing Medical Billing Claims. No experience required."
Yet as tempting as they sounded, we tend to not call as something in the ad just doesn't seem right. Unfortunately, every day many people do call these ads and join the programs - much to their financial detriment.
While a small number of "work at home" positions are legitimate, the vast majority are designed to make money for the person running the ad, not the person who is calling the ad. Those dreams of a good income earned at home quickly become a nightmare of charges, fees, supply costs and more. And after all that, no work that you can get paid for ever materializes. While there are scams covering the entire range of possibilities, the most common of them fall into three broad categories.
Medical Billing - The idea here is that you become an outsource avenue for handling medical billing, chasing accounts receivable, handling electronic insurance claims and more. And the company tells you that they have trained sales staff available to get you accounts. This business requires an investment of anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. For this, the company will train you and provide you with materials that you need to handle the processing. The pro at the other end of the phone makes it sound really good as they explain how huge the problem is and how much you can earn even with just a few small account. The reality in this opportunity though is anything but rosy. Usually the promised sales help never appears and you are left with getting clients on your own. And those few who even try to give the business a go when they discover this fact usually quit very quickly when they find out how much competition there is for business and how much is locked into large and well established firms.
Envelope Stuffing - The pitch here is that they will tell you how to earn money stuffing envelopes. A fee must be paid for the knowledge. The catch is that while they make the pitch, they make it sound like they are selling you training materials for an already lined up job. The reality is that they are generally selling you a blueprint to go out and run the same sorts of ads so that you can sell the same materials to others. In other words, you get your
own customers and then you sell them the same info - run ads and sell the course.
Assembly/Craft Work - This type of activity sounds real good for the handy person. The pitch is pretty simple. You buy the equipment and raw materials from the company, you assemble the product and send it back assembled and the company will pay you your costs plus a certain profit per item produced. The only catch, and it is made to sound reasonable, is that the finished goods must meet their quality standards for you to be paid. As a conscientious crafter, you figure this is no big deal because you do good quality work. The reality is that the company will never find any of your items of good enough quality for you to buy and you are left to market the goods on your own if you want to recoup your investment. In other words, once they sold you the machines and raw materials, they wipe their hands of you.
Does this mean that all work at home jobs are scams? Not at all. There are many legitimate work at home opportunities in the above categories and in many others. But there are also many scams out there and you need to protect yourself. And to do that, you need to ask
lots of questions and check out their references before moving forward with any work at home opportunity. Questions you might ask include:
What are the specific tasks that you will perform?
Will you be paid on salary or a commission or per piece?
Who will actually be paying you?
When will you get your first paycheck?
What is the total cost to participate in the work at home program? And what specifically do you get for your investment?
Do they have references that you can check out (i.e. other work at home people you can call)?
Listen to the answers they give you and do some additional checking - even if all the answers seem on the up and up. Be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau, your state Attorney General and any local consumer protection agency. If you are up to a bit more
snooping, enter their phone number in the Google search engine and see what results you get. Also you can go to the FTC website (http://www.ftc.gov) to research the company to see if they have any complaints against them.
If, after doing all your due diligence, you feel the opportunity is legitimate and is something you wish to participate in, go for it. There are many good opportunities out there and many folks earning very comfortable livings from their spare bedroom. But if an opportunity just doesn't seem quite right for you, pass on it. There are many more out there for you to explore.
Steven Chabotte is a freelance writer about a variety of subjects. If you have ever had a problem with a business opportunity, be sure to check out the fine attorneys in your state at http://www.myattorneyfinder.com