With millions of Americans working remotely for the first time this year, the Federal Trade Commission is warning people about work-from-home scams.
Here are some common work-from-home offers to be careful of according to the FTC:
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 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 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’s office or the state where the company is located.