Work-at-Home Programs


Work-at-home programs

English: A work at home at placed on public pr...

English: A work at home at placed on public property, with personal info blanked out (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Crown Financial Ministries

Beware of work-at-home schemes. “Would you like to earn hundreds of dollars a week at home, in your leisure time? Many people are supplementing their income in a very easy way. Let us tell you how.”

“Earn $9,000 per week working in your spare time in the comfort of your own home. No selling involved. No experience necessary. Call toll free 1-800-JOB-SCAM.”

“Be your own boss. For only $49.95 you can be on your way to employment independence. Have your credit card handy and call toll free today at 1-809-RIP-OFFS and begin making thousands, without ever having to leave your home.”

Offers like these might sound very attractive, particularly if you are unable to leave your home to work. However, be cautious of work-at-home opportunities, especially ones that promise you large profits in a short period of time. In essence, the more unbelievable the opportunity, the less likely it is legitimate. Although some work-at-home opportunities are legitimate, a great majority are not. Home employment schemes are among the oldest kinds of classified advertising fraud.

What many of these ads do not say is that you might have to work many hours without pay. There also may be hidden costs. A great many work-at-home schemes require you to spend your own money to place ads in newspapers, make photocopies, or buy envelopes, paper, stamps, and other supplies or equipment needed to do the job. The company also may demand that you pay a membership fee or make regular payments in order to get continued instructions or materials. Consumers deceived by these ads have lost thousands of dollars and have wasted their time and energy.

Two most common work-at-home schemes
Envelope stuffing. Work-at-home schemes come in all varieties, but the most common scheme over the past number of years has been envelope stuffing. Promoters of these programs usually advertise that, for a small fee, they will tell you how to earn money stuffing envelopes at home. Only when it is too late do you find out the promoter really has no employment to offer. What you are likely to receive for your fee is a letter telling you to place that same envelope-stuffing ad in newspapers or magazines or send the ad to friends and relatives. The only way you will earn money is from the people who respond to your work-at-home ad.

Assembly or Craft Work. The second most common work-at-home scheme is assembly or craft work. These programs often require you to invest hundreds of dollars in equipment or supplies or many hours of time to produce goods for a company that has promised to buy them. For example, you might be required to buy from a company the equipment and materials to make specific goods, such as plastic signs or baby shoes. However, after you purchase the supplies and equipment and perform the required tasks, the company does not pay you for your efforts. Most victims of this type of scheme were refused payment by a company because they claimed that the product did not meet their quality standards. Unfortunately, it is doubtful that the finished product will ever come up to their quality standards. Thus the victim is left with expensive equipment and supplies, with no income. In reality, those who produce goods in response to such ads usually must find their own customers.

Precautions against work-at-home schemes
If a work-at-home opportunity is legitimate, the company or sponsor should be up front and be willing to explain in writing at no charge what is involved in the opportunity. In addition, legitimate companies will let you “sleep on it,” after you have contacted them for information, rather than demanding that you make your decision immediately.

The following are some questions a person who is considering a work-at-home opportunity should have answered before he or she agrees to any work-at-home opportunity.

  1. What task or tasks will I be required to perform? Have a program sponsor list every step of the job.
  2. Will I be paid on salary or commission?
  3. Who determines when and how I get paid? Who will pay me? Get the name, address, and phone number of the person or department responsible for paying your salary and write them a letter requesting a return response. Ask for details about how and when you will get paid and what qualifying factors you must meet before you get paid.
  4. When will I get my first paycheck? Are there any automatic deductions other than FICA and taxes and, if so, how much and for what purpose?
  5. What is the total cost of the work-at-home program, including supplies, equipment, and all fees? What will I get for my money? Are supplies automatically renewed and deducted from my salary or commission or do I only receive what I order?
  6. Is there an existing customer base or do I have to find my own customers?
  7. Who pays for postage, mailing, and shipping?

How the program sponsor answers these questions should enable you to determine whether you want to be involved with that particular company’s work-at-home opportunity.

In addition to asking these questions, you should personally investigate the work-at-home program sponsor. The three things we advise anyone to do in checking out a work-at-home opportunity are to: (1) get the names of the principals and the home office of the company; (2) write or call the Better Business Bureau in the state where they are located; and (3) write or call the attorney general or the state securities office of that state. Ask if they have had any complaints filed against the company. All these things should be done before you make any decision to become a part of that company.

Already been victimized
If you have already spent money and time in a work-at-home program that you now have reason to believe might not be legitimate, contact the company and ask for your money back. Let the company know that you plan to notify state officials about your experience. If you cannot resolve your dispute with the company, the following organizations might be able to help you:

  1. The attorney general’s office of your state and the state where the company is headquartered.
  2. Your state and local consumer protection office.
  3. Your local and state Better Business Bureau, as well as the Better Business Bureau of the state where the company is headquartered.
  4. Your local postmaster. The U.S. Postal Service investigates fraudulent mail practices.
  5. The advertising manager of the publication that ran the ad you answered.
  6. The Federal Trade Commission. Although the FTC cannot help resolve individual disputes, the agency can take action if there is evidence of a pattern of deceptive or unfair practices. Contact them at (877) FTCHELP (382-4357) or online at http://www.ftc.gov.

Conclusion
In considering home business opportunities, you must be very cautious, since some organizations offering work-at-home business opportunities are not trustworthy. If they require an investment on your part, our advice is to stay away from them, especially if it does not fit within your budget. You might check with some of the larger churches or businesses in your community to see if they have any work you could do in your home. Other home businesses that have been successful include child care services, dress shops, consignment shops, bakery serving services, research, and typing and computer services. God knows your needs and the desires of your heart. Trust Him to show you the occupation that will fit your talents and needs and will honor His name.

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Brian Raines is an Associate with Crown Financial Ministries

 

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6 Responses

  1. Unfortunately people think they “see a good thing”. Prevention of loss is key here. The interested party needs to research the company and see if they are legit; chances are they will find hundreds of complaints! Five minutes of tracking down information will save a lot of heartache later! “If it appears to be too good to be true, it probably is.”

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