Most of us have seen the advertisements offering ‘risk-free’ work-at-home opportunities that claim that you can earn a large income for very little work, all from the comfort of your own home. The ads are usually for jobs such as data entry, envelope stuffing or assembling craft projects. It sounds like a dream come true – working at home exactly when you want to.

What the advertisements fail to disclose is that you are expected to purchase supplies or equipment to do the job, or pay for products up front and sell them yourself. You may also have to purchase software or cover the cost of placing newspaper advertisements or making photocopies. Many work-at-home scams require that you pay a sign-up fee just to get started.

One of the scams that offers work assembling craft products requires you to buy a supply kit, which consists of several packages of beads, thread and a rather complicated necklace pattern. Your job is to ‘assemble’ the necklaces according to the instructions, then sell it back to the company, which will refuse to pay if the product does not meet their standards of quality.

Some work-at-home scams work entirely by getting others to sign up (for a fee, of course). Other home business ‘opportunities’ coerce you into buying large amounts of products, which you are responsible for selling at an outrageously high price in order to make your profit. But they don’t stop there. They also sell you promotional material and sales courses which they claim that you need in order to make your home business a success.

Legitimate work from home opportunities do exist, but you should investigate the company thoroughly before paying any money. In some cases, it is worthwhile to make a small investment to get started in a home business program, although most of them are scams that only make money for the parent company. If the business is legitimate, you should have no problem finding out in writing exactly what will be expected of you, for example:

  • The type of work involved
  •  Whether or not you need to pay up front fees or buy supplies
  • Total amount of money you will have to pay
  • How long before you start earning money
  • How you will be paid (salary, commission or otherwise)
  • Who pays you
  • Can this information be verified by people currently working in this program?