Attorney General Kane Warns Consumers About Common Work-at-Home Scams

HARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane yesterday warned Commonwealth residents to be cautious of common work-at-home scams.

Work-at-home scams are some of the oldest and most common types of consumer fraud. Advertisements may guarantee high earnings, but most of these offers fail to deliver on their claims.

“Many work-at-home opportunities may sound promising,” Kane said. “However, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it is probably a scam.”

Work-at-home scams are often advertised in the classified sections of major newspapers, on the Internet, radio and television, or they may be mailed directly to your home. Some solicitations may even be sent to your personal email address.

What these offers don’t tell you is that you may have to work many hours without pay or cover hidden costs with money out of your own pocket. Some of these scams require you to place advertisements in newspapers, make photocopies, or purchase envelopes, stamps and equipment in order to complete the job.

Common Work-at-Home Scams

Internet businesses

This type of scam promises substantial earnings starting your own online company. Consumers are required to pay for specialized training before launching their company. Once the initial payment is made, consumers are billed for additional services in order to begin business operations. In most cases, consumers end up losing the money they have invested and are not successful in starting their own online company.

Medical Billing Records

Advertisements for this scheme usually offer high wages to manage billing and transcription services for medical companies using special software. Employees must purchase the expensive software from the company sponsoring the advertisement. Ultimately, employees discover that local businesses are not associated with the company and the software is useless.

Product Assembly

In most assembly cases, consumers respond to an advertisement offering payment for assembling crafts or other products at home for a company that has promised to buy them. Consumers may have to invest personal funds for materials or equipment, such as a sewing machine.

The company sends specific instructions to the consumer, warning that the items will be rejected and no money earned if the products do not meet the company’s standards. The company always rejects the products for failure to meet the standards, and the consumer is left with the equipment and no income.

Envelope Stuffing

This scam requires a consumer to buy envelopes and pay for advertisements, postage and printing. When the envelopes arrive, they are stuffed with promotional material from the company soliciting others to join in the same envelope-stuffing scheme. Unfortunately, this scam creates a continuous cycle of fraud and the consumer rarely receives any income.

Attorney General Kane advised consumers considering answering a work-at-home advertisement to contact their local Better Business Bureau to see if they have any complaints on file.

Consumers who suspect they have been a victim of a work-at-home scam should contact the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555 or visit to file a complaint.

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