“Earn easy money from home!” “Earn thousands per month working part-time!” Everyone from the casual web surfer to the advanced Internet guru runs across these advertisements almost every day. But are they legitimate home business opportunities, or merely just too good to be true?
As a general rule of thumb, what seems too good to be true usually is just that – and the same applies to so-called “work from home” opportunities. Any advertisement or solicitation claiming that you can make huge profits very easily, with little or no work at all, should serve as a red flag that it is indeed a scam. Operating a legitimate home business is just like any other business; it requires hard work, dedication, skill, valuable products or services, money and huge amounts of time and effort in order to be a success and make a profit.
Exercise caution when receiving work-from-home offers in your email. Almost all home-based opportunities offered through email are unsolicited “spam” emails and are sent to millions of Internet users on a fraudulent basis. An example of one very popular work-from-home scam distributed through email accounts worldwide is the classic envelope-stuffing scheme. Instead of receiving materials to send out on behalf of a firm or company, the company instructs you to place an advertisement in newspapers, on the Internet or through email which asks interested readers to send you money in exchange for information about working from home. In turn, they receive the same instructions regarding placing ads similar to yours. The company offers no real products or services, thus creating an illegal money pyramid scheme. In short – stay away from all claims including the words “get rich quick” and “envelope stuffing.”
Before making any moves with a company or advertiser of a work-from-home opportunity, make sure you know and understand what company you are working with and their policies. Some companies, such as some associated with medical coding and medical billing opportunities, will sell you materials and training necessary to complete the work, but does not employ you directly. Therefore, you are responsible for finding your own work and your own clients or employers to perform work for.
In order to weed out the real opportunities from the scams, a major point to remember is the difference between a home-based “job” and a home-based “business”. Having a home-based job involves performing duties for a firm or company, and in looking for these opportunities, never respond or become involved in job opportunities that require you to pay. In a job setting, the employer should pay you to work for them – not the other way around! In contrast, a home-based “business” involves setting up your own business, and as with all businesses, whether home-based or otherwise, an investment for supplies, maintenance, upkeep and general operation of the business is necessary. There are quite a few home-based business opportunities that are legitimate and also require a start-up fee, many of which allow you to begin your own home-based business with their products or operate as an independent consultant for their company. However, there are many fraudulent home-based business opportunities that require a start-up fee as well, so the keys to differentiating between the legitimate offers and the scams are knowledge of every aspect of the opportunity, research and good common sense. If a company does require a start-up fee, also be sure to inquire if they have a refund policy and under what circumstances you can get a refund of your money if you so choose.
Word of mouth is a great way of evaluating a company’s trustworthiness. Getting references from other people who perform home-based work for a company or have started a home-based business through a company should speak volumes about the company’s reputation and its legitimacy. Find out about the company’s policies, if the company keeps its promises and whether or not those references have ever had any problems with receiving payment, staying in communication with the company or any other problems relating to the method in which the company operates. Also, researching complaint sites and other sites to which customers report complaints, such as the Better Business Bureau, may allow you to see the past history of a company and show you whether the company has had no prior complaints in its past or a history of repeated complaints from past customers.
The next time you see a “work from home” advertisement, do your homework before pursuing employment or paying any money for a chance at work-from-home freedom. Research, research and more research can mean the difference between being the victim of a scam or finding a legitimate home-based business that will make your dreams of working in your pajamas come true.