As a freshman in college, I saw an ad in the school newspaper looking for envelope stuffers. To me, the idea of stuffing envelopes at a rate of $1 per envelope seemed like a great “business opportunity.” I had a scholarship, and I was working at the university cafeteria for spending money. When I saw that ad, though, I pictured myself quitting the cafeteria job and spending one hour a day working for $60. All I had to do was send $1 to an address, and I’d be provided with the business kit.
I was 18 and excited at the prospect of untold riches. I sent in the $1. Imagine my surprise when all I received in return was single sheet of paper explaining that I should photocopy it, put an ad in the local newspaper or on a community bulletin board, and then mail it to those who sent in asking for the “business kit.” I felt foolish as I sat in my dorm room, perusing what I received, and realizing that I’d been had.
Photo by Jepoirrier via Flickr
It’s a good thing I was at least smart enough not to quit my cafeteria job until I could see how my “business opportunity” would pan out.
Since my freshman year in college, things have changed quite a bit. Laptops and tablets are standard on college campuses, and almost everyone has the Internet. More than ever, it’s possible to earn money in your free time with a home business or side hustle.
However, some things haven’t changed. There are still scammers out there, looking to take your hard-earned cash. Whether you find a “business opportunity” on Craig’s List, or see it advertised in some other way, it’s important to carefully consider whether or not your “opportunity” is actually an opportunity for someone else to scam you. Here are some of the signs that you might be dealing with a scam:
It’s important to trust your gut anytime you are presented with a “business opportunity.” Before I sent my $1 in for my “business kit,” I had a couple of misgivings. My main thought was how odd it was that they would need human envelope stuffers when machines could do it for much cheaper than $1 apiece. Plus, if I was really honest with myself, I knew, deep down, $60 an hour was a ridiculous amount to earn by sitting in my dorm room stuffing envelopes.
What do you think? What are the biggest tipoffs that something is a scam?