Thursday, April 1, 2010

Don't Be Fooled!

“Earn thousands of dollars working from home”

We’ve all seen and heard this pitch on t.v. Unfortunately most of these infomercials are nothing but scams! “April Fools” seems like a good time to offer tips to prevent you from being “fooled” by these offers, as I receive frequent calls from individuals who, wanting to start a home based business, have fallen prey to these scams.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, “Many ads omit the fact that you may have to work many hours with out pay. Or they don’t disclose all the costs you will have to pay. Countless work-at-home schemes require you to spend your own money to place newspaper ads; make photocopies; or buy the envelopes, paper, stamps, and other supplies or equipment you need to do the job. The companies sponsoring the ads also may demand that you pay for instructions or “tutorial” software. Consumers deceived by these ads have lost thousands of dollars, in addition to their time and energy”

The FTC sites the following as classic work-at-home schemes:

Medical Billing:

You will be promised that this requires no experience, that for a fee you will receive training and they will help you find clients eager to buy your services. The reality is that you will invest $2,000 - $8,000 and you will have to sell your services, as the promoters rarely provide you with experienced sales staff or valuable leads.

According to the FTC, “Few consumers who purchase a medical billing business opportunity are able to find clients, start a business and generate revenues, let alone recover their investment.”

Envelope Stuffing:

You will be promised that for a small fee you can earn money, stuffing envelopes at home for a company. Later, you will find out there is no company interested in your services.

“Instead, for your fee you’re likely to get a letter telling you to place the same “envelope-stuffing” ad in newspapers or magazines. The only way you’ll earn money is if people respond to your work-at-home ad” says the FTC.

Assembly or craftwork:

You will be promised that companies will buy the goods you produce. Only after you have invested hundreds of dollars in this program, in equipment and performed the work, will you find that these fraudulent operators will not pay you for your products.

“Many consumers have had companies refuse to pay for their work because it didn’t meet “quality standards”. Unfortunately, no work is ever “up to standard” leaving workers with relatively expensive equipment and supplies and no income.” According to the FTC\

How to avoid getting scammed!

Get it in writing

Legitimate work-at-home programs should tell you in writing exactly what’s involved in the program they are selling.

Ask Questions

Including what tasks will you have to perform? What is the total cost of the program including membership, supplies and equipment? . ? How and when you will be compensated?

Check them out

These organizations can tell you whether they have received complaints about the work-at-home program that interests you:

The Federal Trade Commission:
The Better Business Bureau of New England:
Office of the Maine Attorney General:

Be wary

The absence of complaints against a company doesn’t necessarily mean the company is legitimate. Savvy and unscrupulous companies change their names identities and location frequently enough to avoid detection.

Check your gut

If a small business “opportunity” just doesn’t feel or seem right to you, let it go. Gut feelings lack science, statistics and data. But I know from experience that my gut, my instincts are usually right on. The key is to pay attention to it and when in doubt… walk out!

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