SCAM ALERT: When “Working-from-Home” Doesn’t Work Out
By Madeleine Anderson on Monday, February 29th, 2016
Each year, millions of Americans are tempted by work from home advertisements. Sometimes, the luring promise of getting money with little effort – as these ads promise – is just too enticing to resist. Why do folks fall for these scams? Because the scammers are very persuasive. A recent podcast from NPR’s “Planet Money” detailed the anatomy of a work from home scam. Here’s what we learned from the NPR story:
-Work from home ads are likely never offering you a job, but rather they are trying to sell you a multitude of products and services so that you could potentially start your own home business. We say potentially because quite often the services and products they provide are flaky at best, and require additional purchases to be made.
-Scammers are working off of efficiency proven scripts that have been refined and polished for years. In no way are they initiating a personalized phone call made to address your individual needs.
-To see how much money they can get out of you, callers probe and ask personal questions about your income and assets. They present themselves with “no fear” attitudes towards money and act as though getting the personal details of your finances is as casual as talking to you about the weather.
-Call center workers are actually instructed to tap into your weaknesses in order to take advantage of your situation. “Find more pain if needed,” one script prompts, “It’s your job to find it.”
Let’s stop there. If a salesperson’s intention is to “find more pain,” the seller has gone too far. Whether they’re claiming to have open positions for secret shoppers, envelope stuffers, or all sorts of other reported scams, consumers must beware.
Until work from home scams can be stopped, you have to protect yourself from “work-from-home” scams by asking anyone trying to “enroll” you these questions from the FTC:
- What tasks will I have to perform? Are any other steps involved?
- Will I be paid a salary, or will I be paid on commission?
- What is the basis for your claims about my likely earnings? Do you survey everyone who purchased the program?
- What documents can you show me to prove your claims are true before I give you any money? Note: If a seller makes a claim about how much money a person can earn, the seller also has to give you an earnings claim statement with more specifics.
- Who will pay me?
- When will I get my first paycheck?
- What is the total cost of this work-at-home program, including supplies, equipment, and membership fees? What will I get for my money?
Find out more about spotting and stopping work from home scams by reading this post from the FTC.
Have you run across a work from home scam? Tell us about it in the comments.