Make Money From Home…Not!

I recently stumbled upon an online ad that sent me back in time. It said, “Make Money Stuffing Envelopes.” You know where I saw it? CareerBuilder.com. Come on. You do realize this is a con, right? I mean, if you fall for this one, you deserve what you get.

I know. I fell for it when I was young and gullible. It was 20+ years ago, shortly after giving birth to my twin daughters at the ripe old age of 21. At that time I was determined to be a stay-at-home mom – at least until my girls started school.

The ad I fell for promised I could make $200-$300 a week stuffing envelopes. I was stoked! I filled out the order form, wrote out my $10.00 check and then excitedly checked the mail slot every day, anxious for my “kit” to arrive so that I could start pulling my financial weight at home.

When my package arrived, I was dismayed to find that it was nothing more than a poorly printed booklet containing lists of agencies and types of businesses I could contact who may need envelope stuffing and other clerical services. The other option that was suggested was that I could recreate the booklet and market it as my own. I read the booklet from cover to cover and briefly considered whether it really would be possible for me to build a business in that manner and decided…no. It wasn’t for me. I tossed the thing in the trash – lesson learned. Nine months later I was back in an office job.

The ad I saw on CareerBuilder.com last week claimed I could make $1,000 a week stuffing envelopes. Well, the pretend paycheck has gone up, as has the “initial investment” amount, but other than that, I’m sure things haven’t changed. Even if this were real, I can’t even imagine how many envelopes a person would have to stuff in order to earn $1,000 in a single week. It just doesn’t seem possible. There are so many obvious problems with that idea I can’t even justify listing them. It brings to mind the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza’s fiance dies from licking the envelope glue on their wedding invitations.

But you know what really chaps me? These ads are EVERYWHERE! Including legitimate employment sites. I did a search on Careerbuilder.com for “Work at Home” and got 160 pages of results! Beyond.com gave me 10 pages. Indeed.com…I don’t know how many…I stopped scrolling at 30.

While some of these jobs may be legitimate, I’m pretty sure they’re not the kinds of jobs you would feel good about having. For example, my search resulted in a slue of listings for “Call Center Agent.” I think there was one for every possible city/state combination. You know what that job is, right? It’s answering inbound calls and processing orders from those infomercials you see on tv. Glamorous!

There’s also a “Diet Gum Company” claiming you can make $1,500 per week processing orders at home. Even better – there’s a “Diet Company” that is going to pay you $6,000 a week for taking orders on your home computer. If these jobs were legitimate, first, instead of “Diet Gum Company” you’d see the real name of the company, and second, everyone would be working from home!

While the “Call Center Agent” job may be real, I have to ask this…Does anybody out there know anybody who has really made the money stated in those other ads?

These types of ads prey on people who have to make decisions like, “Do I go to the dentist to have my abscessed tooth pulled or do I feed my family?” They are desperate. If you’ve ever responded to one of these ads I’m guessing you didn’t do it because you were financially independent and just needed something to pass the time. You responded because you really needed the money and were fresh out of ideas for getting it any other way (legally).

I’m think I’m going to take some time and explore some of these listings over the next few weeks. I’ll report back on what I find.