Saturday, January 29, 2005

Beware work-at-home scams

Do you want to work at home and raise your children, but don't have a job conducive to telecommuting or a home-based office? Beware the possibilities.

Through her Web site for work-at-home moms,, Cheryl Demas said she handles a lot of questions related to work-at-home scams that are prolific on the Internet and in women's magazines.

"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," she said. "The number one rule I tell people to follow is, if they ask for money up front, that is a red flag. Employers should pay you, you shouldn't pay the employer."

Demas said the exception would be direct sales businesses such as Mary Kay, which require an initial investment for a starter kit.

The most prevalent schemes today involve envelope stuffing, e-mail processing or order processing, where those responding are asked to send in money to "find out how," only to get instructions on how to place ads to get others to fall for the scheme.

Home assembly schemes often ask for up-front money for projects that are put together in one's home, then typically rejected because "they're not up to standards," Demas said.

"People need to think about their skills and interests first, instead of just looking for something to make money," she said. "If you're doing something you love, the higher your chance of success."