BBB Scam: Work at home opportunities that leave you hanging

With increasing popularity, the internet has made it much easier for scam artists advertising work-at-home offers to get their message across. They usually make themselves known through websites and by sending emails to various individuals. It is important to keep in mind that although a website may look professional, if it offers a quick and easy way to make money, it is most likely a scam. Since the internet is largely unregulated, it is easy for the average person to make their own professional website in a matter of days while claiming to be a legitimate company. These sites are usually put up long enough to lure unsuspecting consumers and then vanish once they rip people off of their money. 

A Fishers, Indiana woman reported to BBB Scam Tracker that she interviewed with an alleged online company via text message and was informed she received the position the next day.  

“I spent a week working in the position doing typical jobs and going through training, but thought it was weird that all training was being conducted via text in the telegram app, said the woman. ”After a week, the day I was told I’d be paid came and went with no mention of it. I emailed HR asking about getting paid and never received a response. I asked the manager assigned to me and kept getting a ‘I’ll work on it’, but no actual answer. Today I was asked to open a bank account for them to deposit money so I could book a conference. I immediately said no and have not heard back. I had been asked to create an account on their website and went through to do so. When I went back to login into that website I discovered the website domain had been suspended.” 

Some things you should consider: 

  • Check out the company. Learn how long it has been in business and if it has received any complaints. Contact the Attorney General, local consumer protection agencies, the Better Business Bureau, and the Secretary of State in the state where the company is headquartered. 
  • Get all earnings claims in writing. Be sure it includes the number and percentage of others who have earned as much as the promoter claims. If the promoter hesitates or refuses, walk away from the deal. 
  • Be skeptical of past success stories. Ask the promoter to give you the names of previous consumers so you can pick and choose whom to call. When speaking to references, ask them for the names of their clients and details of their operations. You may also consider meeting references in person. Again, at any sign of hesitation on the part of the promoter or references, walk away. 
  • Check out the refund and cancellation policies. A company will often offer to refund your money only if you have operated according to their instructions or if your products meet their standards, which are usually very high. Ask to get their refund and cancellation policies in writing. 
  • Consult an attorney, accountant, or other business advisor before you sign any agreement or make any payments. If the company requires a deposit, you may want your attorney to establish an escrow account where the money will be maintained by a neutral third party. 


Legitimate job opportunities require a contract – in writing – outlining what’s involved in the work you are providing or the program they are selling to you. Here are some questions you might ask a potential work-at-home employer: 

  • What tasks will I have to perform? (The employer should give you a step by step training about the process) 
  • Will I be paid a salary or will my pay be based on commission? 
  • Who will pay me? 
  • When will I get my first paycheck? 
  • What is the total cost of the work-at-home program, including supplies, equipment and membership fees? What will I get for my money? 

It is important that victims of job scams report them to:  

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