2004 Consumer Advisories
Warning: "Work-at-Home" Schemes
Ad: "Earn hundreds of dollars a week at home -- no experience needed!"
Work-at-home ads often spark images of a dream come true: great pay for easy work in your very own home.
Such ads may be especially tempting to older Iowans, or to people who have lost their jobs -- but they often
end in a nightmare. Promises don't pan out, and victims end up being cheated out of precious money they
can't afford to lose.
Work-at-home scams now are flooding people with e-mail "pitches." Solicitations also appear on cable TV,
and in classified ads, posters, and regular mail. The most typical scams claim you can make big money by
stuffing envelopes, assembling craft products at home, or processing medical claims. They fail because there
really is no market for the work - but meanwhile victims have spent thousands of dollars for supplies,
If you must send money in advance before you receive the products
and all details in writing, there is a substantial risk that
you will lose your money and receive little or nothing of value.This
scam has been around for years.
|Here are key questions
you should ask to avoid work-at-home scams:
I have to pay in advance?" Be extremely wary if you
must pay in advance.
is the total cost of the work-at-home program, including supplies,
equipment, and membership fees?" Exactly what will
you get for your money?
tasks will I be required to perform?" Ask the program
sponsor to list every step of the job and specific requirements
regarding acceptable quality.
will pay me -- and when?" Will you be paid by salary
or commission? (Commission sales often are based on false promises,
and don't pan out.)
The company should readily
answer these questions in advance, in writing, and for free. For more tips,
go to http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/invest/homewrk.htm.
If you have lost money to
a work-at-home scheme, contact the company and ask for your money back. If you
paid by credit card, consider contacting your credit card company to dispute
the charge. Report the scam so others can avoid being cheated.
To file a complaint, or for more information, contact the Iowa Attorney General's Consumer Protection
Division, Hoover Bldg., Des Moines, IA 50319. Call 515-281-5926, or toll-free at 1-888-777-4590.
On the web: www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.org.