If you’re looking to supplement your income and work from home and believe that stuffing envelopes can be a legitimate way of making extra cash, then you need to think again.
The Office of Fair Trade (OFT) estimates that over three million of us in the UK get scammed every year, collectively losing £3.5bn.
Over three million of us in the UK get scammed every year, collectively losing £3.5bn
“It’s a lot of money,” says a spokesperson at Consumer Direct, the government-funded organisation working with The OFT and Trading Standards. “We think an awful lot of people might be falling victim but aren’t necessarily telling the authorities about it. The estimation is that fewer than 5% of people report it.”
With 16 million homes in the UK connected to the internet, options for home working never looked so good or accessible – and yet behind the promise of easy work and quick money often lies one of the oldest scams around.
The scam begins usually via the placement of an advert, either on the internet or in a local newspaper or shop window. The hook: the prospect that you could make anywhere between £1k and £5k a month working from home for a small registration fee.
Eureka! Your prayers have been answered.
No more arduous commute to work, no more tedious hours and sucking up to your boss. You now have freedom and flexibility of working hours, able to enjoy the occasional sunny day walking the dog.
Working independently; by yourself for yourself. For a small fee, you have the potential to earn mega money with minimum effort.
So, you respond to the advert, send your money and wait for a truck load of envelopes to arrive at your door, embarking on your career as a professional stuffer and quitting the daily grind. However, the reality is very different.
In cases where you do get a response, the truck loads of envelopes you expected are in fact replaced by one simple copy of the same advert urging you to place the same advert in the same fashion. So, the circle of deceit continues; with no real work, £15 quid or more out of pocket, losing friends and alienating others.
In fact, one only has to look at advances in technology to spot the pitfalls.
Authentic mailing companies (which offer to handle large volumes of direct mail for legitimate companies) usually operate in large factories or warehouses, with machines that can stuff up to 5,000 envelopes per hour. Add to this high speed label stickers that can hammer home in excess of 12,000 labels per hour, and ask yourself why would anyone hire an individual to independently lick, stick and stuff their way to freedom?
With the rise of email communication and the scope for online businesses to use web-based marketing tools, working from home stuffing envelopes seems a diminishing market of opportunity. Couple this with the 2-3% annual decline of addressed mail seen by Royal Mail over the past eight or so years, equating to 500 million and 700 million items, does this really look like a prosperous and long term way of making extra cash – even if the scams were legitimate?