Legitimate opportunities to work at home are few and far between. In fact, most are scams, requiring the consumer to buy something before they can even begin to "work."
Even though the recession seems to be easing, unemployment numbers remain high, making conditions ripe for the marketing of work-at-home programs. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this consumer alert to arm Arkansans with the information necessary to evaluate these offers.
"While the job possibilities often seem promising, the net result is the same for the consumer, who almost always ends up losing a lot of money and getting a lot of trouble for their efforts," said McDaniel.
Ads for work-at-home schemes appear in the newspaper, in the mail through direct solicitations or even as emails. Often they arrive as an invitation to a seminar with the added attraction of a gift for attending, such as a free meal.
Most promise easy money and require little or no experience. In reality, however, they do require an expensive upfront investment in equipment, materials, postage, envelopes and/or advertising for the product one is supposed to sell. As a result, the consumer spends more money than he gets back as income.
Any individual interested in working at home should closely examine any offer which promises or guarantees income.
If you are promised a potential income, ask for substantiation that the promised level of income has been realized by the majority of participants in the program. Never agree to the payment of any fee until you have checked on the status of the program with the Attorney General's Public Protection Department and the local Better Business Bureau.
Those interested also should take into consideration that by becoming involved in a work-at-home scheme, they might well be perpetrating a fraud by selling the program to others, and risk investigation by federal, state and local authorities.
If you believe you have been a victim of a work-at-home scheme, or if you want to check out a program before joining, contact the Public Protection Department of the Arkansas Attorney General's Office at (501) 682-2341 or toll-free statewide at (800) 482-8982.
Click here for a complaint form from the Attorney General's Office website.