Work From Home Scams List
Lots of people work from home and millions more would like to do so. While good opportunities exist for people who want to work from home, there are also lots of people who want to take advantage of such people.
Work from home scams are not new; some of them have been around for decades. The Internet has made it a lot easier for criminals and opportunists to take advantage of people who are simply trying to earn a living.
While many of these scams are well known, a few are still somewhat obscure, making it easy for people to fall victim to them. That’s why I decided to attempt to list a comprehensive list of all of the work from home scams that people are likely to encounter. Obviously, such a list can never be truly complete, but this one should more than cover the majority of what you’ll found out there.
Listed below are more than 50 of the most common work from home scams, complete with a short description of how they work and/or what you can expect of you either sign up for them or buy them.
Browse Work from Home Scams by Category
Click any of the links below to jump to each category:
These work from home scams all involve you paying someone to tell you about work you can do that will allow you to earn money. None of them, of course, actually work.
- Envelope Stuffing
This work from home scam has been around since the 1930s. A scammer advertises that for a fee, they’ll show you how you can earn $1-$10 for every envelope you prepare and mail. Seems easy enough; who can’t put something in an envelope? The scam? The instructions you receive tell you that you’ll make your money by running ads yourself that tell other people that they, too, can make money stuffing envelopes at home. Is anyone actually making money stuffing envelopes? No.
2. Assembly Work
This is a classic and particularly nasty work from home scam. The ads tell you that you can earn money by assembling craft items in your home and that no experience is necessary. You might be making purses or toys or pieces of jewelry, and the kit that you buy from the company (often for several hundred dollars) includes instructions and a sample of the finished product. To get paid, you have to buy the kits, assemble the items and send the finished product back to the company for payment. Without fail, the company always rejects the finished products as “not being up to our quality standards.” You’re left with an expensive kit and a bunch of craft items that you cannot sell.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, we’ve recently come across a twist on this – a company that sells a training course on how to do assembly work from home. You buy the course, get a couple of Web pages of “training”, and a list of 100+ companies that will then sell you the kits that you’ll assemble and then be unable to sell. This cleverly adds an extra layer to the scam; you pay someone to tell you where you can get ripped off before signing up with the company that actually does it!
3. Medical Billing
This work from home scam promises thousands of dollars per week processing insurance claims for doctors’ offices. You pay for software, training and a list of local doctors, only to discover that they all either do their work in-house or they already have a company to do the work for them. You, on the other hand, are now the owner of useless and expensive software and training that qualifies you to do work that no one actually wants to pay to have done.
4. Contract Typing
While there are legitimate opportunities to make money as a typist, this work from home scam involves purchasing a list of companies that are ostensibly willing to pay to have typing work done for them. Of course, once you get the list, you’ll find that these companies actually aren’t interested, and that assumes that the list you received isn’t obsolete. The lists we’ve seen are often years old, sometimes listing companies that have long been out of business. There’s nothing for you other than the bill for buying the useless list.
5. Name Compiling
Can you put together a list of names and addresses? If so, this work from home scam says you can make a lot of money that way. You buy the training materials, which tell you that the company will pay you for every name and address that you submit to them. This leads many buyers to submit the names and addresses of friends and relatives, as well as any others they can find. Then they submit the list, only to find that the company won’t pay them. The company will, however, use those names and addresses to send the same offer, and others, to the people whose names and addresses you provided to them. Don’t expect your friends, who will be the recipients of endless junk mail and email spam, to thank you for this one.
6. Rebate Processing
These companies claim that you can earn thousands of dollars per week processing rebates. To learn how to do this, you’ll have to send several hundred dollars to get your training kit. Depending on the particular scammer, the kit may or may not arrive, but if it does, you’ll soon discover that neither consumers who apply for rebates nor the companies that offer them need services of this kind.
7. Data Entry
This work from home scam is similar to the medical billing and contract typing schemes listed above. You’ll be promised a list of companies that desperately need people to perform basic data entry work for them. (“Make money filling out forms!”) You’ll have to pay for the list, of course, and then you’ll find that it’s just a list of companies that have been grabbed off the Internet. None of them will likely need data entry work done. Many likely won’t even be in business anymore, as these sorts of scams rarely include up-to-date lists. We often see lists like this that provide links to Websites that haven’t been active in years.
8. Make Money as a Voiceover Artist
We came across this one just recently. According to the ads, if you can speak, people will pay you to record your voice to be used in commercials for radio, television and Internet ads. All you have to do is buy the training kit that tells you how the business works and which companies are hiring voiceover artists. Why any company would pay strangers to do this sort of work when professionals are a mere phone call away is a mystery. If you don’t already use your voice professionally, it’s unlikely that any company is going to hire you to do this sort of work. You will, however, receive some training that tells you that it’s important to enunciate clearly. Perhaps there’s value in that.
9. Get Paid to Complete Surveys
This work from home scam is pretty popular, as it involves relatively easy work and no experience. According to the ads, you can earn thousands of dollars every month completing online surveys. The truth is that surveys that pay in cash are fairly rare, and those that do only offer a few dollars. Most offer product samples or gift cards with modest value as compensation. A few offer “points” that you can later redeem for merchandise.
10. Get Paid to Read News
A number of Websites have popped up in the past year that offer to pay you cash to read news articles. On the plus side, the sites are free to join and the articles are rarely longer than two sentences. On the minus side, the companies simply don’t pay, even if you have thousands of dollars in your account balance. They just want you to visit their sites so you can click on their ads and so they can use your email address to fill your inbox with spam. As a bonus, they might also try to hack your PayPal account, since they request your PayPal address as a requirement for receiving that payment that they’re not going to send your way.
11. Get Paid to Write
First of all, there are legitimate opportunities to work from home as a writer. This is not one of those. This work from home scam involves ads that promise, for a fee, they’ll teach you how to write professionally so that you can make money blogging, writing magazine articles and improving movie scripts(!). What you get is a brief article about how to write a blog post, a list of companies that supposedly want to hire writers that has obviously been scraped from the Web, and numerous offers about how to make money taking surveys or running your own Website. In short, you’re paying someone to try to sell you a bunch of things that are unrelated to the original offer, none of which are going to work.
12. Get Paid to Take Pictures
“Do you own a camera or a cellphone? You can make thousands of dollars a month taking pictures!” All you have to do is buy the training course, which will offer a few hundred words about how to use a camera and a list of stock photo Websites that may (or likely, may not) be interested in purchasing your photographs from you.
While the stock photo industry is legitimate, it’s a competitive industry where even professional photographers often struggle. Can you compete with them and earn thousands every month just snapping pictures with your iPhone? Not likely.
13. Google Job Scams
There are a number of these, most of which have the world’s most popular search engine in their name, such as “Make Money With Google.” They’ll promise that you can earn thousands per month just filling out forms or …something, as they’re not that specific. Many of these courses will tell you to build a Website and place Google Adsense advertising on it. It will cost you several hundred dollars to find out. One of the programs we found (reviewed here) offered to build a number of Websites for you that would “automatically” make money and didn’t require any effort on your part at all, due to the “secret links” they offered to install on the sites for you. The finished sites from that program consist largely of random gibberish strings of text interspersed with Google Adsense ads.
Many of these programs have nothing to do with Google and are just using the brand name to obtain your trust. As a rule, it’s best to avoid any moneymaking offer that includes “Google” in the name.
14. Get Paid to Draw
A variation on “get paid to write” or “get paid to take pictures,” get paid to draw will show you, for the price of the training course, how to submit your artwork and doodles to stock photo sites and sites that sell graphics. Yes, the ads actually claim that you can sell your doodles.
Of course, you’ll be working in a competitive industry with thousands of professional artists, making it unlikely that you’ll earn the thousands of dollars per month that the programs suggest that you’ll earn. You’ll also likely receive the exact same list of Websites that you received when you paid money to learn how to make money taking pictures with your cellphone.
15. Posting Ads Online
This is one of the older work from home scams on the Internet, and it’s really just an online version of envelope stuffing. You’ll answer an ad that tells you that you can earn $500 a day for only a couple of hours of work and no experience is required. Once you pay the hundred dollars or so to join the program, you’ll learn that the way you are supposed to earn money is to post ads in forums, comments sections and on social media, telling people how they can earn “$500 per day or only a couple of hours of work.” You might not earn any money, but you’ll quickly develop a reputation as a forum spammer. Good luck with that.
16. Paid to Click Websites
With paid to click (PTC) Websites, you join a program that pays you to click on links that display advertising. While you do get paid, the amount you earn is minimal (2¢ is one of the larger payments we’ve seen) and, of course, you’ll be spending all of your time looking at advertising that has been placed there with the hope that you will purchase whatever it is they’re selling. That can seriously diminish whatever meager earnings you might have accumulated and if the ads are persuasive, you might end up losing money on this “free” opportunity.
17. Make Money Testing Apps
Nearly everyone has a smartphone these days, and everyone loves apps. This program says that you can earn a lot of money testing smartphone apps. Sounds like fun! Once you pay to join the program, you’ll discover that there’s no testing of apps at all. (Boo!) What’s really happening is that you will be provided with already-tested apps and that it’s your job to persuade people to buy them by creating a Website where you write reviews of those apps. If people buy them, you will earn an unspecified amount in commission.
19. Get Paid to Watch Commercials
This program promises to pay you for every commercial you watch. It’s a variation on the Paid to Click program, and the amount of money you’ll earn is truly minimal, provided that the sites pay you at all. We’ve heard of a few that pay, but they don’t pay but a couple of pennies per ad, making this a horrible and probably unpleasant way to try to earn money.
19. Get Paid to Watch Commercials II
This work from home scam is a hybrid of “get paid to watch commercials” and “get paid to take surveys.” You’ll watch a short commercial and then be asked a half dozen multiple choice questions about it. After that, you have $18 added to your account balance.
The scam? The commercials are often several years old, and the company flat-out won’t pay you, no matter how much money you have in your balance. They’re just trying to get you to click on ads. As a bonus, they’ll likely send you lots of spam and try to hack your PayPal account, since they required your address for that as a condition of payment. These sites belong to the same company that created the “get paid to read news” sites.
20. Turn Your Computer Into a Money-Making Machine
This is a popular title used for multiple work from home scams. Who wouldn’t want to turn their computer into a money-making machine? How does it work? Are you running a printing press? You buy the book, course or training program and then you’ll be told to build a Website where you can sell things. Or you’ll be told how to make money posting ads on the Internet or find a book someone else has written about making money and rewriting it and selling it yourself.
The plans vary, but none of them are new or innovative, aside from putting a “money-making machine” spin on it. One thing they all have in common is asking you to fork over a lot of money for worthless “training.”
21. Become a Product Tester
Why not test products and get paid to write reviews of them? You even get to keep them! Sounds like fun! All you have to do is pay an enrollment fee, and then pay the shipping for the products themselves. The plan is to test the products, write a review of them and then get paid for the review. The scam? No one is going to pay you to write product reviews.
You do, however, get to keep the products that you have essentially purchased by way of your enrollment fee and much-higher-than-average shipping fees.
22. Get Paid to Read Books
Yes, this is another in a line of “get paid to do simple tasks” scams. In this case, you’ll pay to enroll in a program that shows you how to review books so you can earn up to $30,000 per year. All you have to do after receiving your training is contact the publishers and they’ll send you the books and then they’ll pay you for your review. Once you do this, you’ll discover that no publisher is interested in paying you to review their books. You do, however, get to keep your expensive training materials.
These work from home scams all involve making use of email or social media in one way or another.
23. The Letter from Nigeria
This one’s a classic as well as the Scam That Won’t Die, so we’ll put it first. You receive an email message from someone in Nigeria, who says they’re the son/daughter/spouse of someone important who has a lot of money that they must get out of the country. In exchange for allowing them to temporarily hide the money in your bank account, you’ll receive a hefty percentage of the millions of dollars.
The scam kicks in when they tell you that you’ll have to send them some money first in order to expedite the process. If you send money and complain when nothing happens, you’ll likely be asked to send more. A surprising number of people fall for this one, which is why it won’t go away. The scams that work best are the scams that survive the longest.
24. The Lottery Scam
This variation on the Letter from Nigeria is an email message that informs you that you’re the winner of a foreign lottery. All you have to do to claim your winnings is submit a processing fee. What? You did that and nothing happened? They’ll just ask you for a second fee to hurry things along. As the amount of money offered is usually in the millions, a lot of people fall for this scam and it never occurs to them that if someone owed you millions, and there was a processing fee, they could just deduct it from your winnings.
25. Email Processing
This work from home scam is similar to the envelope stuffing scheme. This program for a one-time fee of $35, will tell you how you can earn $25 for every email message you send. What are you really doing? You’re running ads on Craigslist, telling people that they can earn $25 every time they send an email message and for $35, you’ll tell them how to do it.
26. Email Forwarding
This variation is from a company that says they’ll pay you to forward their email messages for them…once you pay the hefty signup fee. Of course, no one needs to pay for a service that any email program can already do. They’ll either take your money and give you nothing, or they’ll tell you how to run ads to tell people how to make money forwarding other people’s email, as in the “email processing” scam above.
27. Make Money Sending Email
This one’s different, and targets people who have something to sell. You pay to join a program run by a company that claims to have a list fifty million email recipients. Once you join, you’re allowed to send out an email message to 1.5 million people on that list every day.
This doesn’t involve spam; the company says that all of those people sign up for the list by choice. They’ll tell you that if you have a product to sell, how could you not make money by sending your offer to 1.5 million people every day? If only 1% of those people respond, you’d get 15,000 sales a day!
You won’t make any money, however, because the mailing list consists of years-old addresses that aren’t valid anymore or they’re the addresses of people who aren’t buying because they’re receiving 500 offers just like yours every day. You might be mailing to 1.5 million people, but if you’re lucky, about five people will actually see whatever offer you’re sending. All of the others either bounce back as undeliverable or go into the recipients’ spam folders.
28. Chain Letters
This one, like envelope stuffing, has been around for decades. You’ll receive a letter with a half a dozen names on it and the promise that you can earn millions. You’ll be told to send a certain amount of money to the first person on the list, add your name to the end of the list, and pass the letter on to as many people as possible. This work from home scam not only doesn’t work, but it’s one that’s actively prosecuted by the U.S. Postal Service. You won’t become a millionaire, but you might become a felon.
29. Make Money With Facebook
We recently came across a program that said it would show us how to earn $12,092 per month by “just using Facebook.” There are even video testimonials on the Website from people who talk about how easy it is to make money just by using Facebook every day.
What do you get once you pay for the training course? A course that shows you how to use Facebook ads to send visitors to your Website. That’s great, if you have a Website that has a product to sell on it. But that doesn’t sound like making money by “just using Facebook,” does it?
30. Jobs to Your Inbox
Here’s a twist, and in a tough economy, a lot of people fall for it. You receive an email message that tells you that there’s a job for you if you’ll just click the link in the message. You then visit the Website which tells you that there are only two positions left, so you’d better hurry…and give them several hundred dollars for a job training course. Of course, there’s no job, just the $200-$400 charge on your credit card for the “training materials.”
31. Get Paid to Send Text Messages
There actually are a few programs that will pay you to send text messages, but they pay a couple of cents per message, making this the equivalent of the Paid to Click method. If $1 or so per hour is your idea of earning a living this might be for you.
Those are the legitimate offers; the scam variations are much like the “get paid to post ads” scams. You’ll end up paying for advertising that tells other people that they can make money sending text messages.
Work from home scams that involve starting your own business are quite popular, probably because they allow the people who promote them to take a lot more money from you. Some of these business “opportunities” have costs that can run well into the five figure range.
32. Start an Internet Business
This one promises that you can earn as much as $107,000 in six months, just filling out forms at Google and Yahoo. Of course, supplies for the training course are limited, (so you’d better hurry!) and there’s a monthly fee, and since there’s no way to actually earn that kind of money filling out forms at Google, you’re not going to get anything of value.
This one’s much like the “make money with Google” scam above; these “start an Internet business” scams vary in terms of what they’re going to actually tell you to do, but you can rest assured that what you won’t be doing is actually earning any money.
33. Build Your Own Online Store
You can work from home by building and operating an online store, but there are scams in this niche.
This work from home scam is actually semi-legitimate, but it’s not profitable. You pay a fee to join a company that tells you that they will create a retail Website for you, complete with merchandise that they will package and ship for you when you make a sale. All you have to do is find a way to send visitors to the Website that they create for you.
You’ll find that doing that is quite difficult, as even the biggest of online retailers spend millions trying to attract visitors to their sites. Doing it successfully without spending a lot of money on advertising is nearly impossible. You do get a really nice looking online store, though. Too bad that no one is ever likely to see it. Worse – unless the Website has a lot of text content on it, the search engines might not even include it in their listings, leaving you with an online store that no one could find even if they were looking for it.
34. Build Your Own Online Store II
This ugly variation on the above works a bit differently. In this case, you pay a somewhat higher price for the store…and don’t get one. The scammer just takes your money and heads to the beach.
35. Multilevel Marketing
We’re not talking about multilevel marketing like Mary Kay or Amway; those legitimate companies have real products that are sold on a tiered compensation plan. No, these work from home scams involve paying a modest $50 or so to join so that you can sell $50 books and DVD courses to people showing them how to make money. At least, that’s what you think you’re doing when you sign up, though the sales page talks about people earning six figure incomes.
Can you earn six figures selling these $50 books and DVDs? No, as you’ll soon find out.
Once you join, you’ll receive the phone call telling you that you can earn larger $1000 commissions by purchasing a $2000 “license.” What are these “licenses” for? They’re a license to resell the license, for which you earn half the selling price. Once you have purchased the $2000 license and think you’re all set to make the big bucks, your phone will ring again. This time, they’re telling you about the $5000 license, the $10,000 license and the $20,000 license. You’ll be strongly encouraged to go “all in,” and that will cost you $50,000 or so.
Part of the incentive to purchase those licenses comes from the threat of lost commissions. If you recruit someone and they buy an expensive license and you haven’t already purchased that particular license yourself, the 50% commission for the sale goes to someone else, most likely the person who recruited you. People go “all in” out of fear, and then discover that it’s really difficult to persuade others to spend the kind of money necessary to generate those huge commissions.
In this scam, there aren’t any other products other than the $50 books and DVDs, by the way. That’s just a ruse to deflect claims that the program is a pyramid scheme. The money in this form of multilevel marketing all comes from buying and selling the “licenses”. This particular scam is pretty popular these days, mostly because a handful of people who got in early are boasting of earning six and even seven figure incomes. Buried in the fine print on the site’s “earnings disclaimer” page is the fact that 99% of all members are earning about $200 per year, tops.
36. Poor Man’s Multilevel Marketing aka “Resell This”
A variation on the above, these courses, which typically sell for several hundred dollars, tell you how you can regularly get $200-$400 deposits into your PayPal account. Whoopee!
People get excited and sign up, only to receive a short training “course” that tells them to build a Website that tells people, for a fee of several hundred dollars, how they can get $200-$400 deposits into their PayPal accounts. On the plus side, the Website is provided for you. On the downside, you’re just selling envelope stuffing on steroids.
It’s multilevel marketing with only one level…and a lot of suckers. It’s also a really good way to have PayPal cancel your account. PayPal really doesn’t think too highly of this sort of marketing.
37. DVD Vending Machines
We love this one; we’ve even seen television commercials about it, saying you can earn $7500 per month for every DVD rental machine that you buy. You’ve seen those Redbox DVD kiosks, right? They’re everywhere. How would you like to be your own boss and have your own fleet of DVD rental machines? You can name your own price and put them everywhere!
Well, you can’t put them everywhere. Redbox machines are pretty much everywhere already, so you’ll have to find a location with a lot of traffic that doesn’t have an existing Redbox machine on it. Oh, and you’ll have to pay to stock the machine with DVD titles. Those machines hold 3000 discs. Wholesale prices on DVDs might run $5-$7 each. That’s another $15,000-$20,000 that you’ll have to fork over before you even turn your machine on.
You’ll also have to share half your revenue with whomever owns the location where you’re putting your machines. Did we mention that the machines themselves cost $20,000 each? You also likely can’t “name your own price” as the price for renting a DVD from a machine has already been pretty well established by Redbox and it’s something like $1 per disc. At a net of about 50¢ per rental (remember, you have to share with the location owner), good luck getting your $30,000-$40,000 back anytime soon.
38. ATM Machines
For this, you spend something like $30,000 to get a couple of automatic teller machines and some recommended locations in which to put them. You earn money from the fees collected. ATMs are everywhere, and people are reluctant to use machines away from their bank, because they don’t want to pay the fees. Several companies involved in this industry have been prosecuted for misrepresenting earnings potential.
These scams involve paying someone to provide you with work. Of course, no real employer would charge you money to take a job…
39. Mystery Shopping
This one is popular, and we should emphasize that there are legitimate opportunities to work from home and make money this way. Companies do hire people to shop at their stores in order to evaluate their own customer service. But there are also scams in this arena.
The scam variety involves paying someone to provide you with a “mystery shopper training course” as well as a list of companies that will hire you to become a mystery shopper. The last company we checked that offered this service had a database where nearly half of the companies listed were out of business. For real mystery shopper opportunities, just do a Google search. The companies will provide the training, so there’s no need to pay for it.
40. Pre-Screened List of Jobs
Why search for an opportunity to work form home when you can just buy a list of companies that are hiring people to work from home? A number of companies run classified ads offering lists of work from home job opportunities if you’ll just send them some money. Some even promise a refund if you fail to get a job from one of their recommended companies. You send in your money and then…nothing. Sometimes, you’ll get a list, but it will just be a list of companies that’s scraped from the Web and likely an outdated one, at that. We wouldn’t take the guarantee too seriously, either.
41. Translator Jobs
Companies offer a training program and a list of companies looking to hire people who speak more than one language to work as translators, either for online or for offline work. You pay your money, get access to one or two Web pages of “training” and then find that the database is obsolete or lists companies that aren’t hiring such people. As with voiceover artists, professional translators aren’t something for which companies usually hire inexperienced strangers.
42. Credit Report Scam
This scam is particularly cruel. An individual will run ads on Craigslist or similar sites offering employment of either the traditional or the work from home variety. People who respond are told that they must first submit to a credit check. Applicants are referred to a Website where they can apply for a “free” credit report, which requires the applicant to provide their credit card number. If they’re not careful, they’ll end up with a subscription to a credit protection service that they likely don’t want.
What’s the scam? When you apply for your credit report, the person who ran the ad earns $20-$40 from the credit company for referring a new customer. There’s no job, of course; it’s just a ruse to get you to apply for the credit report.
Now we’re getting serious. We’re not merely talking about taking advantage of people here; we’re talking about good, old-fashioned, you-can-go-to-prison-for-this financial fraud.
43. Check Cashing Scam
This work from home scam has been pretty popular lately. You’re accepted for the job and asked to open a bank account. You’ll receive checks or money orders to deposit, and you’re asked to wire the money elsewhere. “Elsewhere” is the scammers themselves; the money usually comes from people they’re scamming via various means. Oh, and they’re scamming you, too, because when the people being scammed complain to the authorities, they’ll investigate and discover that you’re the middleman. Guess who gets to pay the money back and go to prison?
44. Check Cashing Scam II
This one is a twist on the Mystery Shopper scam as well as a twist on a popular scam involving people selling things online. Mystery shoppers are recruited for the usual – “go shopping at this particular store and write a report about it” gig. In a twist, they’re paid upfront with a cashier’s check for a far greater amount than they should receive. They might be promised hundreds for the job, but the check will be in the amount of thousands of dollars.
The recruit is asked to deposit the check in their bank account and to take some of the money to use for their Mystery Shopping experience, but to wire the balance of the money elsewhere.
The scam? The checks or money orders are bogus, but it often takes a while for them to bounce. In the meantime, you’ve spent the money on goods and you’ve wired the rest to the scammers, and guess who the bank will contact about getting their money back? Guess who gets to go to prison?
We’ve seen a lot of variations on this one, particularly when people list things for sale online. Someone will offer to buy the product and will send a cashier’s check for a sum that’s larger than the sales price. They’ll ask the seller to ship the goods as well as wire back the balance, leaving the seller without the merchandise and owing the bank an lot of money.
45. Chauffeur Scam
In yet another variation on the above, someone will advertise that they need a driver for someone who will be visiting a particular area. Applicants will receive a cashier’s check to cover their expenses, but the check is inevitably too large. They’re told to wire the extra money back to the sender. Of course, the check is fake, as is the visitor and the driving job. The only real part is the amount of money that the victim will owe to their bank and the criminal charges they’ll face once the police catch on.
Someone hires you to accept packages at your home and then resend them to another address, usually a Post Office box in another state. Seems straightforward enough, but what’s the scam?
The packages that you receive are merchandise that the scammers have purchased using stolen credit cards. They can’t have the packages sent to their own homes, because the police would catch them. Instead, they send them to a third party. That’s you, and you’ll be the proud recipient of stolen merchandise. You’ll also likely become acquainted with local law enforcement fairly soon, as these scams are usually pretty short-lived.
Some of these are rather clever, but they’re like all of the other work from home scams listed here. Clever or not, you’ll be spending a lot more money than you’ll be earning.
47. Binary Options Trading Software
Don’t know anything about risky and expensive binary options trading? No worries! The sales page says that the software they’re offering does everything for you automatically. You’ll even see glowing testimonials from satisfied customers, talking about how they’ve earned $50,000 a month or more with this software.
The seller will even give you the software for free or give you a 30 day “trial” so you can see that their software really works. (Twist – “Use my software for free for 60 days. Then you can pay the $5000 fee with the profits you’ve made during your free trial!”)
Once you sign up, the software vendor will tell you that the software only works with certain online trading brokers, so you must open accounts with them in order to use the software. Most sellers involved in this scam recommend that you open more than one account for “optimum” results; we’ve seen one who recommended four. Most online brokers require a minimum $250 cash deposit when opening a new account, so you’ll have to deposit a minimum of $250-$1000 just to test the software to see if it even works.
Once you’ve opened accounts and paid the money, you can “test” the software. Spoiler! The software doesn’t work.
What’s the scam? Competition for customers is fierce in the binary options business and brokers will pay the software vendor $200-$400 for every new paying customer sent their way. The “free” trading software is just a ruse to get you to sign up with the brokers. The software doesn’t work, but the guy who gave it to you for your “free trial” made $200-$400 from each brokerage where you opened an account. If you opened four accounts, your “free” software might have earned $1000-$1500 for the person who gave it to you.
What can you do? You can’t complain to the seller, because they gave you the software for free. You’re just out a lot of money and left with some very expensive “free” software that doesn’t even work.
48. Stock Trading Pump and Dump Newsletters
This work from home scam has been around for decades, but it’s thriving in the Internet age. You pay to join a stock trading club. Once a week, you’ll receive a newsletter from the founder recommending that you buy a particular stock that is “certain to go up in value.” The stock is usually a “penny stock” that sells for less than a dollar per share and inevitably involves a company with which you are unfamiliar.
What’s the scam? The stock is likely worthless, and unlikely to rise in value on its own. Nevertheless, the person writing the newsletter has already bought a bunch of it – probably thousands of shares. When everyone who receives the newsletter buys the stock, the price will go up, as stock always do when a lot of people start buying – and the creator of the newsletter will quickly sell everything he owns, reaping a huge profit. What about you? Once the owner of the newsletter sells, the price will quickly fall again, and you’re left with worthless stock.
49. Cash Flow Business Scam
This one has been heavily advertised on TV. Find people who are selling houses and financing them themselves and offer to pay them cash for the balance owed to them at pennies on the dollar. You take over as recipient of the monthly payments. This is actually a complicated business that usually requires a license and years of training, but lots of people have signed up and forked over thousands of dollars for the training courses, only to find out that it’s a really hard and expensive way to make money.
50. Free Government Grants
This is another one that’s been around for a really long time. This expensive training course purports to tell you how you can get thousands of dollars from the U.S. government in the form of “free government grants.” They give the impression that the government just hands out cash to anyone who knows the “secret” method of asking for it. They go even further and suggest that you can use this money for anything you like.
The truth is that “grants” by definition, are free, so “free grant” is meaningless. The information about how to get grant money from the government is freely available on government Websites. While the government does give out grant money, it’s difficult to get and is offered only for very specific purposes. You might get a grant if you want to irrigate a desert and turn it into farm land. You won’t get one to help you drink Mojitos on the beach. You certainly don’t need to buy an expensive training course to learn those things.
51. Pyramid Schemes
This one is similar to the multilevel marketing scheme listed above, only there’s no pretense of actually buying or selling a product. You simply pay to join a group, and you persuade others to pay to join, too. When you pay, someone who joined before you makes money. When you persuade others to join, you can get paid. They, in turn, must also persuade others to pay to join, and so on. Many of these scams have fees of many thousands of dollars to join, though the payouts are huge for the few members who actually receive them.
As long as everyone keeps paying and recruiting, everyone makes money. The problem is that there are only so many people on the planet and not enough of them to keep this scam going forever. Pyramid schemes aren’t new, but they’re still illegal, and unless you know a really good lawyer, you can expect jail time for participating in one.
52. Cash Gifting
“Cash gifting” is really just a variation on the pyramid scheme and the chain letter. You join a group, give someone money to join, and recruit others to do the same, either by inviting them personally or by advertising. Most cash gifting programs emphatically state that they’re not pyramid schemes…which they are.
These gifting systems usually have a …wait for it…pyramid shaped membership structure. They won’t call it a pyramid, however. They’ll used terms like “forced matrix” to describe their payment system to confuse you. They’re usually inexpensive to join; some only cost $5-$10 or so with payouts of several thousand dollars.
You pay a certain amount to join and you start on the bottom level. When you’ve recruited enough people, you move up a level. Once you reach the top, you get paid, at which point you can leave or pay to join again. As with pyramid schemes, cash gifting programs are illegal in many states.
As you can see from the list above, work from home scams are both common and diverse. While this list is pretty extensive, there are new scams coming along every day. A bit of common sense is usually the best approach; if someone is offering a deal that seems too good to be true, chances are good that it’s a scam.
Know of any other work from home scams? Feel free to share them in the comments section.