Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS.™ Special Report: Work-at-Home Businesses ScamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost.

Want to be your own boss? Earn thousands of dollars a month from home? Ads promote many different work-at-home jobs and businesses, but often the message is the same: they promise you’ll earn a great living from home, even in your spare time.

Don’t take their word for it — many of these “jobs” are scams, or don’t deliver on the claims they make. So do some research, and learn about common work-at-home scams.

What to Know About Work-at-Home Businesses

When money’s tight, a work-at-home opportunity might sound like just the thing to make ends meet. Some even promise a refund if you don’t succeed.

But the reality is many of these jobs are scams. You end up paying for starter kits or certifications that are useless, find your credit card is charged without your permission, or get caught up in a fake check scamFake Check Scam In this con, the victim deposits a phony check and then returns a portion by wire transfer to the scammer. The stories vary, but the victim is often told they are refunding an “accidental”  overpayment. Scammers count on the fact that banks make funds available within days of a deposit but can take weeks to detect a fake check..

Other work-at-home offers just don’t deliver on their promises. The ads don’t tell you that you may have to work a lot of hours without pay, or don’t disclose all the costs up-front. You might spend money based on promises you’ll quickly earn it back — but you don’t. People tricked by work-at-home ads have lost thousands of dollars, not to mention their time and energy.

Common Work-at-Home Scams

Internet Businesses

You’re told you can earn thousands of dollars a month starting your own internet business. The company says that no experience is necessary because they have experts to coach you, and you’re pressured to pay for the opportunity right away. Once you pay, the company says you won’t succeed unless you pay for more pricey services. Many people who pay for these “businesses” are left with a lot of debt and not much else.

Other work-at-home offers tell you that you can make money doing tasks like internet searches on prominent search engines and filling out forms. You just have to pay a small shipping and handling fee. Later on, you learn that the company isn’t connected with a well-known search engine like it claims — scammers are just lying to get your credit or debit card information. If you pay them even a tiny fee online, they can use your financial information to put additional charges on your card.

Envelope Stuffing

For a small fee, the ad says, you’ll make lots of money stuffing envelopes. But after you pay, you find out there is no work. Instead, you get a letter telling you to get other people to buy the same envelope-stuffing opportunity or some other product. You earn money only if those people respond the same way you did.

Assembly Or Craft Work

You see an ad that says you can make money assembling crafts or other products at home for a company that has promised to buy them. You may have to invest hundreds of dollars for equipment or supplies — like a sewing or sign-making machine from the company, or materials to make items like aprons, baby shoes, or plastic signs. Then you spend many hours making the “product.” But after you’ve bought your supplies and done the work, the company doesn’t pay you — supposedly because your work isn’t “up to standard.” Unfortunately, no work ever is, and you’re left with equipment and supplies, but no income.

Rebate Processing

The ad says you can earn money by helping to process rebates. The fee for training, certification, or registration is nothing compared to what you’ll earn, the ad promises. The “#1 certified work-at-home consultant” behind the program will show you how to succeed like she did. What you get instead are poorly written and useless training materials. There are no rebates to process, and few people ever get a refund.

Medical Billing

The ads promise a substantial income for full- or part-time work processing medical claims electronically — no experience needed. When you call the toll-free number, a sales rep tells you doctors are eager for help. In exchange for your investment of hundreds — or thousands — of dollars, the rep says, you’ll get everything you need to launch your own medical billing business, including the software to process the claims, a list of potential clients, and technical support.

But the companies rarely provide experienced sales staff or contacts in the medical community. The lists they give you often are out-of-date and include doctors who haven’t asked for billing services. The software they send might not even work. Competition in the medical billing market is fierce, and few people who make the investment are able to find clients or generate any income — let alone get back their investment.

Mystery Shopping

Ads for mystery shoppers say they want people who are willing to shop at certain stores or dine at certain restaurants, and then report on their experience in exchange for money. While there are some legitimate mystery shopping jobs, many are scams. Scammers might tell you that you need to pay for worthless certifications, directories, or job guarantees. O