Real opportunities or scams?
Of course, all this begs the question: Are any work-at-home schemes legit? The answer is a few, but experts and home-workers warn that even the schemes that are the most legitimate aren't exactly easy money. On the other hand, many work-at-home schemes -- such as envelope stuffing -- are clearly scams meant to prey on the gullible and the desperate.
Despite their rising numbers of late, work-at-home scams are nothing new. What is new is the ease with which hucksters can reach their victims, thanks to the Internet. Email, websites, job hunting sites like Monster.com, Craigslist and even social networking sites like Facebook are all platforms used by scammers.
Despite warnings from the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and other government and consumer affairs agencies, work-at-home scams continue to flourish. That's not to say that law enforcement efforts to stop these scams-- such as the FTC's Operation Bottom Dollar, which recently ensnared several fraudulent work-at-home enterprises -- are not ongoing and somewhat effective. It's just that work-at-home scams are so lucrative for their operators that new ones seem to materialize just as soon as old ones are rooted out.
We posted earlier about ways to get your voice heard if you get scammed, but it's even more important to not to be scammed in the first place. In 2009, MSNBC.com listed 10 things to do to protect yourself from common work-at-home scams. It's an article that's worth reading.
More to come
Over the next few weeks, ConsumerSearch will report on some of the most popular work-at-home schemes. We'll delve deep to get behind the promises to learn what's actually being delivered, and to see if there's really a way to turn an honest buck with any of these work-at-home operations, starting off with a look at envelope-stuffing jobs.