Scammers are targeting people looking to make money while stuck at home.
While there are plenty of legitimate opportunities to earn extra cash, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says to steer clear from the following money-making scams:
At-Home Medical Billing Businesses. Many medical billing business opportunities are worthless. Their promoters don’t tell the truth about earnings potential and fail to provide key information.
Envelope-Stuffing Schemes. Offers that promise quick and easy income from stuffing envelopes at home virtually never pay off.
Telemarketing Resale Scams. Selling brand-name merchandise from home can be a great way to work at home making some extra money. But fraudsters sometimes call to lure you into a resale proposition. They’re the ones who make the money – and they make it from you.
Work-at-Home Businesses. Many work-at-home opportunities are promoted by scam artists. If you pay in, it’s likely that you will spend more than you can earn.
How to Protect Yourself
- Do your research. Talk to other people and read reviews about the work-from-home opportunity you are considering. Also consider checking out a company with your local consumer protection agency, your state’s Attorney General office or the Better Business Bureau.
- Request the FTC’s one-page disclosure document. Sellers of work-from-home opportunities are required by the FTC to give you a one-page disclosure document that offers key pieces of information about the opportunity. Click here to see what the document looks like.
- Ask follow-up questions. In addition to reviewing the disclosure document, ask the sellers various follow-up questions such as the following: What tasks will you have to perform? Will you be paid a salary or be on commission? What is the basis for the company’s claims about what you can earn? When will you get your first paycheck?
Reporting a Scam
If you have spent time and money on a work-at-home program and now believe it may not be legitimate, contact the company and ask for a refund. If you can’t resolve any disputes with the company, file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or call 877-FTC-HELP. Also file a complaint with your state’s Attorney General office or the state where the company is located.