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Envelope Stuffing Scam

Avoid Work-at-Home Envelope Stuffing Opportunities

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Arizona Attorney general Terry Goddard, in association with the Federal Trade Commission (the "FTC"), has issued a special warning to Arizona residents to be wary of work-at-home envelope stuffing schemes.

Does this ad sound familiar?

$550 to $3,000 weekly. Ten dollars for each circular you mail...Free postage...Free circulars...No newspaper ads...No magazine ads...No bulletin board ads! Paychecks mailed to you every week! Advance paycheck forms included in your package!

Ads for envelope stuffing "opportunities" seem to be everywhere--from your mailbox to your newspaper to your email box. Promoters usually advertsie that, for a "small" fee, they will tell you how to earn big money from stuffing envelopes at home. And they claim that they will pay you a certain amount of money for each envelope stuffed, resulting in hundreds or thousands of dollars for you each week.

These ads may seem appealing, especially if you are looking for a home-based business. But according to the FTC, ads like these don't tell the whole story, because the promoters really aren't offering you a job. Instead, say FTC attorneys, after you send your money, you are likely to get a letter telling you tom place the same "envelope-stuffing ad in newspapers or magazines, or to send the ad to friends and relatives. The only way you'll earn money is if people respond to your ad. In fact, the promoters themselves rarely pay anyone.

If you are tempted by an envelope stuffing "opportunity," here are some questions to ask the promoters before you send any money or sign up to receive more information:

  • Who will pay me?
  • When will I get my first paycheck?
  • Will I be paid a salary or will my pay be based on commission?
  • What tasks will I have to perform?
  • What is the total cost of the envelope stuffing program, including supplies, equipment and membership fees?
  • What will I get for my money?

The answers to these questions may help you determine whether an envelope stuffing promotion is legitimate, and appropriate for your circumstances. It may also help to check out the program with the Better Business Bureau, Attorney General's Office or consumer protection agency in both the area where the business is located and in your local area. These organizations can tell you if they have received complaints or filed any charges against the organization that you are interested in. Remember, just because there are no complaints doesn't necessarily mean that the envelope stuffing business is legitimate. Unscrupulous promoters may settle complaints, change their names, or move to avoid detection.

If you have spent money and time on a work-at-home program and now believe the program may not be legitimate, contact the company and ask for a refund. Let company representatives know that you plan to notify officials about your experience. If you can't resolve the dispute with the company, file a complaint with these organizations:

  • The Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer to prevent fraud and deception. Call 1-877-FTC-HELP
    (1-877-382-4357) or log on to www.ftc.gov.
  • The Arizona Attorney General's Office at 602-542-5763 or 1-800-352-8431
  • Your local consumer protection offices.
  • Your local Better Business Bureau.
  • Your local postmaster. The U.S. Postal Service investigates fraudulent mail practices.
  • The advertising manager of the publication that ran the ad. The manager may be interested to learn about the problems you've had with the company.

This information was provided by the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

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