The Truth About "Work At Home" Ads

Learn about internet work-at-home scams including online surveys, reading email and envelope stuffing;learn where to find real listings for legitimate job opportunities to work from home; and learn how to spot scams.

Work at Home!! Earn $2500 weekly!! The ads are everywhere. On the Internet, in the backs of magazines, even nailed to trees. It's easy to see how one can be tempted into answering these ads. To work at home and earn that kind of cash? It doesn't get much better than that. Or does it? Before you visit a work-from-home website, or even worse, part with any hard-earned cash, be sure to do your research. When it comes to "working at home," what you don't know can hurt you.

Most of the advertisements offering work at home jobs or business opportunities are geared towards the stay-at-home-Mom. Knowing that the most important thing to many mothers is to be able to stay home with their children instead of returning to the office, these unscrupulous advertisers prey on mothers' vulnerabilities. After all, what new Mom would turn down an offer of secretarial work from the comfort of her own kitchen to return back to a stressful job in a noisy office?

The most important thing to remember when searching for any kind of job is that you should never pay money to apply to work for someone else. Employers pay you; it's not the other way around. A business opportunity, on the other hand, is a whole other story. In most cases, having your own business will require an investment on your part; you just have to be sure to avoid scams and get-rich-quick schemes.

How does one find a work-at-home job or a business opportunity? It's not easy. Many Internet job boards will claim to specialize in listing work-at-home jobs and opportunities, but, in many cases, they list advertisements, not actual jobs. When it comes to job boards, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The first is to avoid job boards requiring a subscription fee. Most times, these boards carry the same information found on free sites. The other is to never pay for a listing of major corporations who hire telecommuters. These can be found for free all over the Internet. Remember, a potential employer, especially someone from a well-known company, will want to hire the best candidate for the job and will either advertise in a major newspaper or a major Internet job board. They won't advertise on a job board catering to only a few select people who are willing to pay for information most other people can find by typing a few key words into a search engine. Also, in order to work at home for one of these businesses, you'd probably have to work on site for months, even years, in order to prove yourself. The truth is, most work-at-home job boards list very low paying jobs or are advertisements for scams that encourage you to part with your hard-earned cash.

Let's explore some of the popular "jobs" found on these work-at-home sites:

Reading Email - The ads claim you can earn hundreds of dollars and more each week by reading email. This couldn't be farther from the truth. In reality, you're signing up to receive advertisements sent to your email address. Every time you read one of the ads, you get a penny or two (and sometimes less) added to your account. Since you'll receive only a few advertisements a day, it takes quite a while for anyone to earn a substantial amount of money. You can also earn money by referring others to the program, but again, this is nothing one would call employment, and it's certainly not something you should quit your day job to do.

Envelope Stuffing - Most businesses have machines or mail staff to handle this type of work; they won't pay an outside individual. Here's how it works. Once you pay the fee, you'll be sent a directory of businesses you can contact to see if they'll let you handle their envelope stuffing. In just about every case, the answer will be no.

Online Surveys - Can you really earn thousands or even hundreds of dollars just by answering consumer surveys? Not hardly. That's not to say you won't make anything, but you won't retire on your earnings, that's for sure. Consumer survey sites offer cash and incentives for filling out surveys regarding groceries, movies, cars and politics, just to name a few. In many cases, you'll earn points. After saving up enough points you can choose a reward. Depending on how many points you saved, you can choose anything from a mouse pad to a DVD player. You'll have to answer a lot of surveys for the higher-end products. Some companies also offer cash incentives; these are usually only a few dollars. There are even companies that will add your name to a drawing to win cash if your name is chosen. Since the odds of winning are not in your favor, the chance of you getting any type of compensation in exchange for your time is nil. Be wary about responding to any advertisement saying you can earn thousands of dollars by answering surveys. This is just not the truth. Also, never pay money for a list of survey sites. These are easily obtained doing a simple Internet search for free.

Name Compiler / Data Entry - The ad states you will be typing up names and addresses onto lists that will, in turn, be sold to advertisers. In reality, advertisers don't need your lists; they have their own, as well as their own data entry programs. Once you pay your fee, all you will be provided with are instructions on how to scam others in the same manner.

Craft Assembly - After paying a fee, you will be sent parts for a product or toy that needs to be assembled. After it's sent in, you'll either be paid, or you'll be told the assembly wasn't up to their high standards and not get paid anything at all. In any event, you won't recoup your initial investment.

Transcription Work - Be on your guard when responding to advertisements soliciting transcriptionists, especially those that say no experience is required. In many cases, these advertisements aren't from employers looking for workers. They're from businesses looking to sell software so you can train for transcription work. Once you're "trained," you're on your own, however, as there are no job placements or even job listings on these sites. In fact, many of the companies hiring transcriptionists will either look for someone who has experience or go to a reputable firm. They won't hire someone who responded to an ad on the Internet and bought some software.

Below are some clues to spotting common work-at-home scams:

1. The "employer" is looking for money. Remember, you never have to pay a "sign-up fee" to work for someone.

2. The ad states no experience is necessary. How many jobs have you applied for that are looking for someone with no experience? Not many, right?

3. Does it sound too good to be true? It probably is. Do you really think you can earn $2500 each week answering emails or typing ads? No one can expect to do very little work and earn that much money unless they're doing something illegal.

4. Many scam sites don't accept credit cards. Credit cards charges can easily be reversed. Never sign up for any program you pay for with your credit card. Whatever you do, always get a 30-day guarantee in writing.

5. Advertisements are in all caps with lots of exclamation points. WORK AT HOME!!!! EARN $$$!!!! Most legitimate businesses prefer a more understated approach and won't try to sucker you in with an overabundance of symbols.

6. There is no contact information. Any potential employer will list a phone number and street address. If this information is vague or non-existent, you would be well advised to stay away.

Let's face it. Even though many of us would like to stay at home and work in our pajamas, this isn't an easy thing to do. It's not impossible though. You can try to persuade your present place of employment to let you work out of your home. If this isn't possible, you can work as an independent contractor or freelancer in your area of expertise. You can also try your hand at a home-based business. There are many party plans and sales opportunities for those who have a knack for selling.

When responding to any work-at-home advertisement, proceed with caution. Do as much research about the organization as possible and ask as many questions as necessary. Don't worry about sounding like a pest. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints made and post queries on online message boards specializing in stay-at home-opportunities. Many of these communities are well-versed in online scams and can help to guide you.

Don't be swayed by advertisements filled with dollar signs and exclamation points. Use your best judgment. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

© High Speed Ventures 2011