Consumer Tips - Work at Home Schemes

Have you been tempted by work-at-home schemes advertised in newspapers and magazines? Thousands of people lose time and money responding to them each year.

The offers sound tempting by claiming you can quickly and easily make lots of money from the comfort of your home and without any specialized training.

The Federal Trade Commission says home employment schemes are one of the oldest kinds of classified advertising fraud.

Over the years, I investigated dozens of offers ranging from stuffing envelopes to assembling toys and none of them lived up to the promises made by promoters.

The schemes often start by requiring a registration fee. Then it’s more money for materials, patterns or instructions. Finally, you discover even trained professionals can’t complete the work according to the specifications and you don’t get paid unless the work meets their demands. You may also learn there is no market for the product.


  • Avoid any company that won’t give you full details before you pay or gives testimonials that don’t completely identify the people giving them.
  • Watch out for red-flag words like:

    - Anybody can do it
    - Quick and easy
    - No experience needed
    - Work in the comfort of your home
    - No risk
    - Fill a great demand
    - Nothing illegal

  • Ask potential employers for a list of all the steps needed to complete the work.
  • Find out when you will be paid, whether it’s a salary or a commission and who will pay you.
  • Ask for the total cost of the program, including supplies, equipment and membership fees.
  • Talk to others in your area who use the program. The company should be willing to provide names. When you contact other workers be sure to ask if the company pays them for making a good referral.
  • Check with local companies that would buy the product or service to determine if the market is as big as the promoter claims.
About Stan

Stan formed a new company, Trust Stan, LLC, to enable him to continue helping.

He advises businesses on ways to improve customer service, consults television stations on how to successfully operate consumer units and operates a program to continue giving consumers a place to turn.

Helpful Links

Numerous government and private agencies regulate, set standards and/or investigate complaints about businesses and professionals.

They offer a wealth of helpful consumer information and provide places to turn if you are treated improperly.

Consumer Tips

My goal is to make your contacts with businesses more consumer-friendly.

I developed these helpful tips from my personal and professional experiences while helping consumers as a television consumer/investigative reporter.