Magazine article Work & Family Life

Beware of Those 'Get-Rich-at-Home' Schemes

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Beware of Those 'Get-Rich-at-Home' Schemes

Article excerpt

Be part of America's Fastest Growing Industries! Earn thousands of dollars a month from your home. Ads like this are everywhere: on your computer, in newspapers and magazines, and on TV. For many people who have just retired or older people who want to be more active, the prospect of earning money at home is especially appealing. Unfortunately, most of the heavily advertised work-at-home opportunities do not deliver on their promises.

To begin with, ads may omit the fact that you will have to work many hours without pay. Or they do not disclose the out-of-pocket costs to you. Some deceived consumers have lost thousands of dollars, not to mention their time and energy. Here are some classic work-at-home schemes to be wary of:

* Medical billing. If you or an older relative respond to an advertisement for a prepackaged business known as a "billing center," you can expect a sales pitch about "the crisis" in the health care system due to the overwhelming task of processing paper claims. The "solution" is electronic claim processing for which the market is "wide open." You will be promised a substantial income providing services like billing, accounts receivable, insurance-claim processing and practice-management for doctors and dentists.

The reality is that you will have to sell these services yourself. Promoters typically do not provide experienced sales staffer contacts in the medical community. Instead, you will receive materials such as a brochure, application, sample diskettes, contract (licensing agreement), disclosure document, and, in some cases, testimonials, videocassettes and references. For your investment of $2,000-$8,000, a promoter will promise software, training and technical support and will encourage you to call its "references," people who are paid to give favorable testimonials.

Few consumers who pursue medical billing business opportunities are actually able to find clients, start a business and generate revenues, let alone recover their initial investment. Competition in this market is strong and revolves around a number of large, well-established firms.

* Envelope stuffing. Promoters for a "small fee" will tell you how to earn lots of money stuffing envelopes at home. After it's too late, you will also learn that the promoter had no actual employment to offer.

Instead, you are likely to get a letter advising you to place the same "envelope-stuffing" ad in newspapers or magazines or to send it to friends and relatives. …

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