It’s quite astonishing that scammers are still promoting envelope-stuffing jobs as a legitimate way to work from home. I can tell you firsthand that stuffing envelopes for cash is a scam.
How do I know?
Because a long time ago, I fell for this scam.
You see, when I was in college, I worked part-time waiting tables. However, even though I made good money, between my class schedule and studying, I could only work a few shifts per week. So, you can imagine my excitement when I found a flyer on a bulletin board at school advertising envelope stuffer jobs.
The flyer claimed I could make $2.00 per envelope, all while working from the comfort of my home.
I immediately started calculating how many envelopes I could stuff in between classes and how much extra money I’d make per week; my life was going to be so much easier!
The flyer instructed me to send them a $12.00 fee for the information on how to get started. I was so excited about the opportunity that I overlooked the red flags, like sending the payment to an anonymous P.O. Box or the exceeding high pay rates for entry-level work.
I waited for weeks for the information to arrive. When it finally did, I anxiously ripped open the envelope to learn that this so-called envelope-stuffing job was a pyramid scam.
The letter told me to promote the same scam that I had just fallen for by placing a want ad for envelope stuffers. Then when people respond to your ad, send them the same bogus information on how to replicate the scam.
I was so disappointed.
This was not a job. It was unethical information on how to scam people out of money. Luckily, I only lost $12.00.
Is the Envelope-Stuffing Scam Still Around Today?
Sadly, I still come across this scam on the internet and various social media sites.
Only now, they charge $99–$399 or more for their so-called start-up kit.
In Tory Johnson’s book, “Will Work from Home,” she tests these fake online jobs with a few different companies, and none of them ever panned out. In her book, she says: “Recruiting people to stuff envelopes is the oldest work-from-home gimmick that fools people every day. Don’t be one of them”.
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 stuffing envelopes is the most common work-at-home scam (the other is packing scams).
And if you think about it, why would a company that needs envelopes stuffed use an individual for this task when they can use a machine that folds, inserts, and seals 1,320 envelopes in one hour? There is no way a human can work that fast, and no company is going to pay high dollars for this unskilled task.
Are There Any Legit Envelope-Stuffing Jobs?
Occasionally, on sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, you’ll run into an ad for a legit envelope stuffer job. However, it’s usually an unpaid volunteer position where you go into an office and help a charity stuff envelopes for their fundraiser. Other times, you’ll see in-person job openings for receptionists, data entry and mailroom clerks, and customer service representatives, where stuffing envelopes is a small part of their job duties. And these positions usually pay $13-$15 per hour, not $2-$10 per envelope!
You’re not going to find work-from-home jobs where you’ll stuff envelopes as part of your job duties, as sending massive amounts of letters, envelopes, and stamps to a worker’s home would be cost-prohibitive to the employer.
What Should You Do if You’ve Fallen for This Scam?
If you’ve fallen for this scam, contact your bank or credit card company and have them issue a stop payment order. If the money is already gone, you can 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, you will be contacting officials to investigate their operations further.
If you cannot resolve the situation, 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.
Watch Out For These Red Flags 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 red flags to watch out for:
- Negative reviews.
- No contact information — scammers don’t want to be found.
- Vague job descriptions.
- Outrageous income claims with little or no effort on your part.
- Pressure to act quickly.
- Unsolicited job offers.
- Poor spelling and grammar.
- Interviews via messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Messenger.
- Imposter scams – companies using free email addresses like Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Finding Legitimate Work-From-Home Jobs
If you’re an aspiring envelope stuffer, you’re likely disappointed that this isn’t a real paying job. However, there are many other legitimate companies and work-from-home gigs worth exploring. For instance, virtual assistant jobs are a great way to put your administrative skills to work, and I have a list of hiring companies right here.
If you’re still feeling uneasy about your work-at-home job search — check out the paid membership site, 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.
Want more legit work-from-home job leads? Sign up for my free newsletter, where I send out new vetted remote job leads twice a week.
Have you encountered ads for stuffing envelopes online? What other fraudulent opportunities have you come across?
Originally published on March 31, 2009. Content updated December 2022.