In the current economic situation some unscrupulous companies are exploiting the desire of those keen to work. Unemployment figures have made schemes offering large earnings for minimal work by working from home an attractive prospect, for example filling envelopes or craft assembly work. However you should be cautious, some of these schemes are a means for someone else to earn money at your expense.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) believes that around 330,000 adults fall victim to these scams every year, costing UK victims £70 million a year.
So how does it work? When you answer the advert you may be asked to pay a registration fee to receive your starter pack or assembly kit, or you may be sent instructions on how to place similar adverts, to attract others, on the basis that you will receive a share of their earnings known as a “pyramid scheme” this type of activity is illegal under the Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Working from home schemes can be legitimate, and if they are, the organisations involved will have no trouble in telling you exactly what will be involved. So here are a few tips on how to keep yourself protected, and minimise your exposure to risk.
- Investigate: If you are asked to pay ANY money upfront, investigate the company fully BEFORE sending money, check the email and premise addresses anonymous email accounts or PO box addresses can be difficult to trace
- Contact: Insist on a landline phone number to contact the company, a mobile number can be difficult to trace
- Complaints: Check the company on websites such as “Better Business Bureau” to see if there are previous complaints lodged against the company
- Details: Find out exactly what you are required to do, when you will be paid and how much
- References: Ask for as many references as possible, not just one as this could be a fake
- Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
If you are a victim, or ever have been, then you can contact the Office of Fair Trading, ensuring that you have as much information as possible about the scam including contact numbers. By telling someone, you can prevent companies from targeting other people. The bad news is however you may never reclaim your money.
Think carefully before you apply for one of these schemes. If you are keen to work the best course of action is to contact your local Jobcentre, or a reputable Employment Agency and see what they have to offer.