As busy moms, we’re always looking for ways to provide our children with the best possible lives. Sometimes, this means trying to earn a little extra income to be able to afford that family Disney World vacation or to give them a great birthday party. Stay-at-home moms may have particular difficulty finding a side job that affords them the ability to make their own schedule so they can be with their children.
In an effort to bring in a little extra cash, many moms make the mistake of getting involved in scams. To help avoid a costly them, here’s a few scams that every mom should know about:
Envelope Stuffing Scam
The envelope stuffing scam is very popular. At first, it seems fairly simple, and moms might think to themselves, how can such an easy job with riddled with fraud? Scammers scouting for the envelope scam are particularly sneaky. These scammers place an ad seeking manual envelope stuffers, but request that the applicant pay a fee for materials, a security deposit, or some other type of fee. Typically, once you send the work back for payment, they let you know that it doesn’t meet their standards, and you aren’t paid for your work or reimbursed for your fee.
The Pyramid Scheme
There are dozens of popular companies that recruit willing participants—many of them students and mothers—to sell their products and acquire new members. Here’s how a pyramid scheme works: a person joins a company, often as the recruit of a current member. They are then encouraged to bring on other members to the team, and there’s an emphasis on getting recruits versus selling product.
Pyramid schemes can be difficult for parents to recognize as a scam, often because the company isn’t technically doing anything illegal, however, this is a very shady business model that makes it difficult to impossible to profit. A pyramid scheme is often thinly disguised as a “multi level marketing company.”
Employees take much pride in investing in product and creating resources that help propel their business. For example, they might print their own business cards, build landing pages to encourage lead generation, and host events to attract newcomers and buyers. Take a look at this list of popular MLM companies to see if you recognize any of the names.
As the old adage goes, “If it’s too good to be true it probably is.” Such as the case for many mystery/secret shopper schemes. Although there are certainly some legitimate secret shopper jobs out there, you’ll quickly discover that many of them are scams.
The reason why so many secret shopper jobs are appealing is because they are the ideal work-from-home job. Moms can do what they enjoy doing on their own free time, and get paid to do it. In some real cases, you might even get some free product and discounts. However, it’s important that you recognize a fraud shopper setup when you see it.
There are several types of secret shopping scams, and one of them is the check-cashing scam. In this scam, secret shoppers are tasked with evaluating the customer service of check-cashing institutions by chasing a check provided by the mystery shopping company. The shopper is instructed to keep a portion of the money themselves while sending the rest back to the “company headquarters.” Of course, the check isn’t real and will eventually bounce. Check out this resource for identifying other types of secret shopper scams.
Data entry scams come in all shapes and sizes. Although, of course, there are plenty of legal data entry jobs, the kind that are scams are usually high-paying. The hourly rate—sometimes up to $80 per hour—is the biggest appeal. But if you were to do a little research, you’d see that real entry level data positions are paid near minimum wage.
The biggest data entry job scam asks applicants to pay a fee to be matched with a position. Other require that you pay to take a test to assess your skills. Either way, once you’ve paid the fee, you don’t hear from them again. Be very careful with accepting any kind of paid training, as this is usually a sign that the job is a scam.
These scams are very popular, and few people do their due diligence before getting involved. I hope this helps people you know from getting scammed.