Top 5 Home-Based Business Scams

Don't fall for these rip-offs

The American dream of getting rich working from home is often just that, a dream. Con artists can come in and out of your life just long enough to relieve you of your savings. For those who have ever thought about starting a business from home and are looking at various opportunities available online and off, keep away from these "too good to be true" offers:

  • Medical Billing involves processing medical claims electronically for doctor's offices. Usually the scam works as follows: you purchase software from the people offering the opportunity. The software supposedly provides you with all the tools necessary to be successful in this highly competitive industry. Unfortunately, all they really provide are some form letters and a mailing list of local physicians in your area. The cost of this software can be as high as $8,000. The likelihood of producing income with this software is close to zero.
  • Envelope Stuffing is an age-old rip-off. Essentially, you answer an ad suggesting you can make big money in envelope stuffing; all you have to do is order the starter kit and you're in business. However, when the kit arrives, it's basically copies of the ad you responded to. The scammers then recommend that you send the copies to friends and / or take out an ad similar to the one you answered. The only way you are paid is if anyone responds to your ad. That's unlikely. In reality, it's nothing more than a pyramid scheme.
  • Assembly Work scams usually involve paying for a starter kit that includes several items, like toys for children or plastic signs, to assemble. Once you've assembled the items, you send them to the company for inspection. There is a fee for that privilege. Naturally, the inspection turns up shoddy work. At this point, either the goods go back to you (for another fee) or you simply drop the matter. If you do elect to have the goods sent back to your home, the company will allow a second or third inspection-for a fee, of course. It seems implausible that people fall for this scam, but sadly, it happens far too frequently.
  • Business in a Box opportunities involve those interested in home-based businesses investing several hundred dollars in a business that is ready to go right out of the box. On the surface, it seems a small price to pay for a ready-made opportunity. Unfortunately, most times what's in the box is nothing more than a photocopied booklet with some how-to suggestions. Very few start-ups, even those done on the cheap, were started for a few hundred dollars. Don't fall for this trap.
  • Reshipping is a recent phenomenon in home-based business scams. Essentially, a person in another country buys merchandise with stolen credit cards and has it sent to your address. You receive a few dollars to repackage the goods and ship it out of the country. By doing this, you've unwittingly committed a crime: receiving and mailing stolen goods. Never agree to forward goods for anyone you don't know personally.
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