By Holly Reisem Hanna
When I was in college I worked part-time waiting tables, and even though I made good money, I still had to pinch pennies to make ends meet. So, you can imagine my excitement when I found a flyer on a bulletin board at school advertising a job for envelope stuffers. The flyer said, “Make Great Money Stuffing Envelopes From Home — $2.00 per Envelope”!
I was so excited! I started calculating how many envelopes I could stuff in between classes and how much money I could make per week; life was going to be so much easier. I sent $12.00 off for the information about the envelope stuffing gig and waited weeks for the information to come.
Finally, after a few weeks it arrived. The information that was going to solve my financial worries. But, when I read the letter, and it said, to make money stuffing envelopes, place the same ad you replied to in magazines, newspaper ads, and on bulletin boards. You will then earn money by people responding to the ad, and in return, you will send them the same bogus information.
What a bummer! Luckily, I only lost $12.00.
Today you still see envelope stuffing ads all over the Internet, “Make $1,500 a Week Stuffing Envelopes”, only now they charge $20 – $100 for the same bogus information. In Tory Johnson’s book, “Will Work from Home,” she tests the envelope stuffing scam with a few different companies, none of them panned out. “Recruiting people to stuff envelopes is the oldest work-from-home gimmick that fools people every day. Don’t be one of them”.
Need more proof that envelope stuffing is a scam?
Both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) have alerts on their websites warning people of this scam. In fact, the United States Postal Service says that envelope stuffing is the most common work-at-home scam (the other is assembly work).
What should you do if you've fallen for this scam?
Try contacting the company that you purchased the information from and request a refund. Be sure to tell them that if they do not refund your money that you will be contacting legal officials to investigate their operations further. If you're not able to resolve the situation this way, contact the FTC (1-877-FTC-HELP) to report the issue. You can also contact your local U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Since these scammers are using P.O. Boxes to run their scam operations they will investigate these fraudulent mail practices.
What are some warning signs to look out for when searching for work-at-home jobs?
When you're searching for work-at-home jobs, you need to take your time and research the job opportunity extensively!
Scammers know they can make a quick and easy buck by preying on people’s vulnerabilities. What I mean by vulnerabilities, is when people are struggling to make ends meet, or they need to be at home for a new baby or elderly parent there is a sense of urgency and these scammers know this. So they create their ads to appeal to these emotions. The second reason scams are so prevalent is technology has made it easy than ever to distribute scams while hiding behind a digital curtain.
For these reasons, it’s more important than ever for you to educate yourself on what’s legit and what’s not.
Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
- Look for poor and negative reviews.
- Search for contact information — scammers don't want to be found.
- Vague job descriptions.
- Outrageous income claims with little or no effort on your part.
- Hyped up job ads: Start Immediately! No Experience Necessary!
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Do you want a guaranteed, legit, work-at-home jobs?
If you’re still feeling uneasy about your work-at-home job search — check out FlexJobs. Every single job listed on their website is hand screened for legitimacy. So when you apply you can rest assured that you’re not going to fall prey to a work-at-home scam. Not only does FlexJobs have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but they also offer a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.
Have you encountered the envelope stuffing scam online? What other fraudulent opportunities have you come across?
Originally published on March 31, 2009. Revised on November 27, 2016.
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