There’s no shortage of easy and flexible ways to make money from home. But are all these opportunities and jobs legit? One type of remote job you may hear about often is packing or assembly work.
Work-from-home packing jobs are generally marketed as positions that will pay you to stuff envelopes or work with a kit to assemble a product. If this sounds too good to be true, it’s because it often is.
Here’s what you need to know about work-from-home packing jobs, how they could be a scam, and what to do instead.
1. Stuffing Envelopes
Work-from-home envelope stuffing jobs are generally advertised with headlines like:
Make $5,000 a Week Stuffing Envelopes From Home!
Get Paid for Mailing Letters From Home
These jobs usually don’t involve stuffing envelopes at all. Instead, you’re required to send money as a startup fee to gain more information. Then, the job is to repost ads for the very same envelope-stuffing scam on other websites to recruit more people.
Unfortunately, this is a common scam that many people have fallen for. Luckily, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Better Business Bureau both have alerts on websites about this illegitimate work opportunity.
New envelope stuffing companies pop up every year, but there still haven’t been any positive reports from people who’ve signed up. When you think about it, stuffing envelopes for extra cash really doesn’t make much sense. A lot of companies handle packaging internally and try to keep their customer and prospect mailing information protected. The odds of a company outsourcing this simple task are slim to none.
2. Sending Packages
Sending packages is another common work-from-home scam to watch out for. How this works is a company will send items and packing materials to workers to mail off. Compensation is usually listed as a fixed price per package. Packaging items to ship them domestically or overseas sounds easy enough, but it’s actually too good to be true.
The main issue is that the items themselves may have been purchased with a stolen credit card or stolen altogether. Sometimes, falsified packing labels are provided for shippers to send out unknowingly.
According to the United States Postal Inspection Service, these types of scams are common and tricky. The stolen packages often get traced back to the person who thought they had a legitimate work-from-home job. By that time, the fake company that hired them is unable to be reached. Or sometimes, they claim the package was never delivered to get out of paying the worker.
Here is a story of a woman who fell for this shipping scam, reshipped some shady products, and never got paid!
Another similar work-from-home opportunity that should raise red flags is assembly jobs. Work-from-home assembly jobs involve the worker paying a fee upfront for startup materials and a kit. The kit includes the item that you’ll need to assemble along with directions.
The tricky part is, no matter how well you assemble the item, the company won’t pay you once you send it back to them. There is always an issue with how you put the item together. The process itself is often very time-consuming. Some workers note spending 30 minutes or more to assemble one bracelet. What these illegitimate companies are essentially doing is making money from all the startup kits they sell with no intention of ever paying for the assembled products.
How to Spot and Avoid a Work-From-Home Packing Job
While work-from-home scams are common, they are not impossible to spot. In fact, there are several clues or red flags that can alert you to an illegitimate work-from-home job. Keep these things in mind as you consider remote work opportunities so you can avoid wasting unnecessary time and money upfront.
Ads That Claim You Can Make a Significant Amount of Money Quickly
One person who fell for a work-from-home packing job scam was told they would earn $1,500 per week. This sounds a little too good to be true. If jobs are promising a lot of money to complete simple tasks like a ton of money to pack and mail packages, you should ask yourself why or how they could afford to pay someone to do these things.
Vague Job Descriptions
It’s important to know what the work entails when you read a job ad. If the language used dances around the primary purpose of the job and how you actually make money, it’s most likely not worth pursuing.
No Website or Bad Reviews
Try to steer clear of job ads that don’t take you to a legitimate website. Even if a company has a website that looks professional, be sure to search for reviews online about them to see if it’s a legit opportunity.
Upfront Startup Costs
Normally, you don’t need to pay anything to start a job. This is also the case for work-from-home jobs. If someone asks you to pay a fee or buy a startup kit, this could be a red flag. Some legit companies do have fees for things like criminal background checks. To learn more about fees and what’s legit and what’s not, read this article.
Recruiting Others is Required
Unlike multi-level marketing business opportunities, which allow people to sell products in addition to recruiting others to join their team, envelope stuffing scams offer nothing like this. The only way to make money is to recruit others for the same scam, making this job completely illegitimate. Yes, some jobs do allow you to recruit others and earn commissions, but this shouldn’t be the only way to make money.
Legitimate Work-From-Home Opportunities to Consider Instead
It’s safe to say that work-from-home envelope stuffing, packaging, and assembly jobs are all illegitimate opportunities and not worth your time.
But what if you’re still looking for similar ways to make money from home?
Consider creating your own crafts or digital products and selling them on Etsy. Etsy takes out a small fee when you make a sale, but this site already has a built-in customer base, provides a virtual storefront, and helps you collect payment with ease. If you’d rather not make the products but sell them instead, you may want to look into joining a direct sales company.
This isn’t a remote job, but Amazon always hires people to sort through items and package orders at local fulfillment centers. Amazon fulfillment centers are popping up in tons of areas. Check out their website to see if one near you is hiring. Schedules are flexible, and you’ll earn around $20 per hour.
A final word about work-from-home packing jobs: if you come across remote jobs in general that sound sketchy, don’t sign up for anything or pay any money. Check reviews and take red flags seriously. If you take a few minutes to research, you will likely find negative reviews from others who have been tricked.
Instead, stick to carefully vetted legitimate work-from-home jobs like those mentioned in some of our other posts.