Can you Spot the Homeworking Scam?

Do you know why the photo of a kitten in a bag is directly relevant to scams?The story goes that during the Middle Ages, you might buy a piglet at market in a bag, tied up to stop the pig from escaping. On getting home and untying the bag, you would “let the cat out of the bag” and discover that you had been scammed, and sold something of lesser value, or (and sorry vegans) less appetising. (ref)

How to spot a homeworking scam

£1000 cheque

  1. Earn £1,000 per week or more!
    Some scams just promise a few extra quid whilst others promise riches and the millionaire lifestyle from stuffing envelopes, to some ‘brainless’ scheme involving email, to your very own shopping mall website. In a way, it is easier to be sucked into the smaller scam requiring only your £5 or £10 or £30 because you feel you have less to lose and hopefully much to gain.
  2. Scams involve a clever use of psychology.
    This is where the fun bit comes into it, but only if you are feeling strong enough to resist! When you see something promoting some unbelievable homeworking opportunity together with pictures of sunset beaches and promises of a ‘residual income’ or ‘Earn £20,000 per month’ or even just ‘Earn a bit extra’ then take a deep breath, make yourself a cup of tea and sit back and read what they have to say. Look at the language they use, the superfluous use of prose and the exclamation marks galore. See how the advert gradually draws you into feeling that this must be a great way to earn money. After a while, you get a nose for these things and will see the same scams dressed up in different ways.
  3. The one thing these scams have in common is the fee you have to pay.
    It might be called an administration fee; it may be a refundable deposit for materials, or a registration fee or a fee for a directory. The fee may be required in the form of a cheque or it may be part of your making a premium rate telephone call. Now if you were to apply for a regular non-homeworking job through a classified ad would you expect to have to pay an administration fee? Of course not! Many homeworking scams involve piecework from painting cottages to assembling electronic components. You start off by paying an initial £15-20 to register and then you are asked to pay another £30-40 for the materials. You do the work as specified but it is then returned to you as being substandard work. In fact you are working with substandard materials (not worth the deposit you have paid) and even if you do exactly as asked they will just move the goalposts so that payment is never made. By this time you are more than £45 out of pocket, have wasted a lot of precious time and only a pile of rubbish to show for your money.
  4. Stuffing envelopes.
    Whether it is addressing them, or stuffing them with advertising, both these scams are designed to relieve you of money. If you are making any money from this then you might be operating the same scam! The scam might also involve your buying basic materials to make into basic products, which the supplier always finds substandard.
  5. Online shopping malls.
    You are told how the Internet is the place to make millions and to get on board now with your very own turn-key shopping mall which they will produce with your name on it. The bottom line is anything from £1,000 to £4,000 for the pleasure of a useless shopping mall site which no-one will visit and the only way to make some money back is by selling on the scam and getting other people to start their own shopping malls. The cheaper end of the Internet scams involves email chain letters the latest proclaiming, “Parents of 15 year old found $71,000 CASH hidden in his closet“. Statistically, it is impossible to earn the amounts that are promised unless every man, woman and child on this planet are connected to the Internet and take part in the same scam!