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WORK AT HOME SCAMS: Separate the wheat from the chaff

Everyone would like a great paying job they can do from the living room. Unfortunately, most of those work-from-home opportunities will cost you more than you’ll ever make. Before you sign up and give them your credit card information, run those seemingly fabulous get-rich offers past the following:

1. Unrealistic pay scales. Thousand-dollar-a-week envelope stuffing jobs are scams. Every single one of them.

2. Don’t be impressed by claimed endorsements. Better Business Bureau? Chamber of Commerce? Fancy initials? Never just trust — check first, trust later.

3. If you are responding to something that came to you via a website or written solicitation, and you are somewhat computer illiterate (I openly admit that I just described myself), have a child or grandchild who understands these darn machines check out the website. When was it created? Last week or five years ago? The credibility factor increases with age, however, there are no guarantees.

4. Most legitimate work-at-home businesses have physical addresses and published phone numbers answered by real human beings. Avoid PO Boxes, Mail Drops and 24/7 answering machines.

5. If you really want to work at home, locate real/recognized sources of such employment and you contact them. Try the job boards at places like or consult “The Work-At-Home Sourcebook.” (Check or your local bookstore.)

6. Use common sense. Some jobs are best done in a home environment; transcription, telephone surveys or appointment setting are examples. These are the companies that should have an address and a phone number.

7. If it looks good, sounds good, feels good — but they want up front money from you — it’s a probable scam.

8. If the offered job involves cashing checks for a foreign company and deducting your commission before sending them a certified check out of your account for the difference … it’s a scam.

9. The words “Money Back Guarantee” are generally meaningless. In most cases, those words translate to “Ha ha. Catch us if you can.”

10. If you’re required to buy “company supplies” or a “learning program,” — bad sign. That $69.95 tutorial costs them forty cents; they’re in the business of selling dreams and false promises, not jobs.

11. Be familiar with “pyramid” concepts. If you are encouraged to recruit friends/family — and will receive commissions or bonuses based on their performance — stay away! In most states the laws governing these types of operations are very specific. The main revenue source must be in goods, not in additional people.

12. Watch out for multiple testimonials!. Examples: “I made $3,651 my first week” or “We bought a new house six months after signing up with “Penelope’s Gizmo Barn!” High scam alert.

13. If you can’t even spell C-O-M-P-U-T-E-R, learn some basics. (I know it’s painful!) Get a “Computers for Dummies” book, find somebody to teach you a few words/concepts/functions, or locate an adult education class. This is especially critical for seniors because YOU are the No. 1 target of scamsters. Technology is the NOW and the FUTURE. Your NOW learned ability to “Google” something might save you hundred$ or thousand$ in the FUTURE.

Drop by the Pahrump Valley Times offices, 2160 E. Calvada Blvd., for a copy of Leslie Kim’s latest book “123 Main Street … the Scamming of America.” Only $19.95 while supplies last.