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shutterstock_560213365It’s only natural that so many people enjoy working at home. Making your own hours, working in a comfortable setting and being your own boss can seem appealing to almost anyone, which might explain why in 2015 24 per cent of employed people did all or most of their work at home.  The interest in working from home, however, has allowed work-at-home scams to grow. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 8,000 complaints in 2015 about work-at-home scams and other business opportunities.

What is a work-at-home scam?

It can be difficult to distinguish between legitimate work-at-home opportunities and fake ones. It pays to examine a potential employer, future tasks of the position and the economics of the work you are being asked to do. Some fraudulent employers may offer to sell you services, such as business coaching, that they guarantee will make your existing business successful.

Some scam jobs may include

  • Envelope stuffing;
  • At-home assembly work;
  • Medical billing;
  • Rebate processing;
  • Re-shipping of packages;
  • Starting a new online business.

If you feel like you’ve found a legitimate work-at-home job, take the time to do the following:

  • Check the business with the Better Business Bureau. This is a national database that contains reviews and complaints about various corporations.
  • Use the Federal Trade Commission website for additional information about the employer you are considering.

Experts suggest asking the following questions:

  • What tasks will I be performing?
  • Will I be paid hourly, by commission, or will I be a salaried employee?
  • How will I get paid (direct deposit, mailed check, etc) and when should I expect paychecks?
  • Are there costs to get started (starter kits, supplies, certifications, training).

It’s also important to ask for an earnings claim statement. If an employer makes a claim about how much money a person can earn, the employer has to give you this document.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for all Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Program and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

 

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