In this tough economy, offers and ads about employment opportunities can be very enticing, including those work from home plans.
However, do the TV, radio and Internet ads you see deliver what they promise?
Monica Horton, president of the Better Business Bureau of North Central Texas, says while there are legitimate opportunities to make money working from home; if an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
We have all seen the ads pop up on our computer screens of work from home job promising consumers they'll make ridiculous amounts of money.
"It's the minority if you come across an opportunity," Horton says. "They're not available out there as they are advertised all over the internet, all in the classified ads and that kind of thing."
"We have seen a huge increase in the work at home scams. Primarily because there are so many people out of work looking for employment," Horton says.
Also, Horton says consumers should be very cautious.
"It seems like the dollar signs seem to cloud people's judgement so one of the red flags and one of the warning signs needs to be no experience necessary or making thousands of dollars for part-time work," Horton says.
She adds, "If they start asking you for any money, our bottom line is you should not have to pay anyone a dime in advance of receiving employment."
Horton says the most likely victims of these scammers are the elderly, stay-at-home moms or dads, and the unemployed.
For example, Amanda Preston is one of those who fell victim to a stay at home scheme.
She says she found a work from home offer on a legitimate website but fell victim to a common work from home scam.
"I was very sad," Preston says. "I could see this job and how it actually worked for me if it was legit. I was just very depressed. Now I feel very relieved that I got out of it whenever I did because I could be facing jail time."
Preston says she applied to a company called Forwarding Group.
The alleged company was searching for people who would package items and ship them outside the United States.
Preston says the job worked for her current lifestyle.
"I've got two small kids. I was going to school part-time. My husband was working full-time and we just needed an extra income. I needed something that would be flexible; that I could work from home and this packaging scam seem to fit me," Preston says.
Preston says she shipped out the first package without a problem but after she recieved four massive tires to ship out, she realized something wasn't right.
Preston says she filed a police report and contacted the BBB who let her know she was involved in a very popular reshipping scam.
Horton says she's not surprised Texomans are becoming victims.
"There's a lot of people falling for these," Horton says. These con artists really make it look good. They have authentic looking job applications and job descriptions."
She adds, "These con artists are convincing. I've talked to many of them and they are going to have a solution for any possible objection that you can come up with."
Preston says she has lost hope that any work from home plans will pay off.
"As far as all the work from home jobs go, I don't believe that any of them are going to be actually legit," Preston says.
However, there are times work from home opportunities can be a reality.
For instance, Belinda Ramirez started her business, Unique Designs, out of the comfort of her own home after closing up her shop in Wichita Falls.
"Been in business now for a year here at home," Ramirez says. "I'm starting to see the return on it so if you stick it out, you can do it."
Ramirez says there are lots of perks to working from home.
"I wake up and I throw my hair back and I work in my pajamas until two. Nobody bothers me," Ramirez exclaims.
Ramirez does have this advice for anyone considering working from home.
"See what at home businesses are in need," Ramirez says. "What is the need and if you have that need to provide out there then go ahead and do it. It's a lot of hardwork but if you put your mind to it and just stick with it, don't give up no matter how bad it looks, it will pay off."
A pay off Ramirez says can only be achieved if you are ready to put in the time and effort required.
"It's up to you. I say the sky is the limit. It just depends how far you want to take it," Ramirez says.
Lastly, Horton says the Better Business Bureau's mission is to protect the consumer and while working from home is not easy, the opportunities are out there.
Horton says consumers just have to be extra careful.
"They're out there... just be on guard. Don't let the dollars signs of high pay cloud your judgement," Horton says.
If you have questions regarding a work from home opportunity, you are urged to call the BBB at (940) 691-1172 or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consumers can also drop by their office located at 2107 Kemp Blvd.
For more information on Unique Designs, you can contact Belinda Ramirez at (940) 689-0167 or visit her website.
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