Top Online Scams

Money Making Scams
Money Making Scams


These days, many people are attracted by the notion of working from home for all the well-known reasons related to convenience, flexibility, and even economic, since daily trips to and from the office are eliminated. With so many seeking these work-at-home opportunities and businesses, the number of opportunists seeking to prey upon them has also soared, and the variety of scams they run often sound legitimate enough to be real. There are too many such scams to list them all, but a few of the more common ones will be identified within this discussion. 

Scammers prey on your desire for a better life and all the perks that make working at home so appealing. Before you invest any money in a work-at-home opportunity, make sure all questions you have about it are answered to your satisfaction, and that you have contacted at least several people who have already achieved some level of success through the same opportunity.

The number one rule of thumb to remember is that any business opportunity seemingly too good to be true probably is. Beware especially of presenters that drone on endlessly about the piles of money to be made, the house full of luxuries that can be yours, and all the vacations you’ll be taking with your free time. All this is designed to appeal to your greedy side, and to circumvent your rational side, which might normally urge caution in such scenarios. When the presenter focuses on all the creature comforts he himself has already attained, and which you are also sure to earn, rather than what you must do to earn it and how much it will cost you, the warning bells should be going off inside your head.  

Chain Email

In this scam, an email is sent to you, and you are instructed to add your name to the bottom of the list and send each person on the list one dollar. You must then send the email to the next person on the list, and that person adds their name to the list as well, sending everyone else the same one dollar participation fee, yourself included. As the list grows in length, your wallet theoretically undergoes a corresponding expansion. While this may not have the sound of a true business opportunity, it can be appealing to someone who is only thinking about the number of participants who will eventually be sending money to him. I personally received this offer in an email, but ultimately rejected it because I could not confirm it with friends or relatives.  

Craft Assembly

Some companies require you to pay an upfront fee, after which they will send you a group of items to assemble, and you must then assemble these parts into a specific craft and return them to the sending company. After you return the completed craft, the company informs you that the finished version does not meet specifications and must be re-worked. If you do re-assemble the parts or do other work to meet specifications, you are again informed that the finished product is sub-standard and cannot be accepted. This might only work once with you, but if the company pulls the same scam on many people, they earn a tidy profit. Be aware that there are some legitimate craft companies out there, so do your research!

Medical Billing

The medical billing scam has you paying upfront fees for supplies and for a list of businesses to be contacted whom you can then provide medical billing services for. This kind of “opportunity” should be ignored without even bothering to check on it, because medical providers simply do not hire workers unknown to them to handle their billing. Medical billing is very important to a company since any mistakes will result in the provider not being paid. This being the case, billing is either done in-house or by a well-known, reputable billing service. No legitimate medical billing company will ask you for money upfront. Research is key in this type of position because of the number of scams. Also, watch out for the medical billing “courses,” most of these are scams and won’t get you any further in a career in medical billing. 

Lottery Scams

This is a fairly simple scam in which you are called and told that you have won a lottery somewhere, even if you don’t exactly remember entering any contest or buying any lottery ticket. All you have to do to receive your winnings is to dial a 900-number and identify yourself – but the winnings never arrive, and all you get out of it is an expensive phone bill that was charged to you during the long, drawn-out conversation you had with the prize director. Lottery scam emails are even more common; never give out any personal identification to anyone. This may seem like an obvious scam, however, the reason they are popular is because they work.  

Home Typist Lists

This is another of the work-at-home jobs where you are supposed to be provided with a list of businesses having typing jobs you can apply for, once you have paid an upfront fee for the privilege of being sent this “valuable” list of company names. With all of the free lists of legitimate work-at-home companies (including the companies listed on, I find this one of the most frustrating. 

Pyramid Scams

By paying a fee you are allowed to participate in a business opportunity, but in order for you to profit, you have to bring in other people, and those people must, in turn, bring in others, so that you begin to rise to the top of the pyramid. I was once lured into a scheme like this but gave up in disgust when I realized that I would never get to the top of the pyramid, and never begin receiving all the promised flood of income.  

Pre-Pay Loans

If you ever get a phone call or email that starts out with, “We have approved your loan”, you may as well hang up on the spot. You didn’t apply for a loan, and what follows that opening is a discussion about the fee you’ll have to pay to get the loan you didn’t apply for.

Nigerian Scam

In this scam, you receive an email saying that you will be given a significant sum of money, but to get this money you must open a bank account in which you must deposit a specific sum or send it by the Western Union. Once you’ve deposited the amount, it will disappear, along with the windfall you were never going to receive in the first place. FYI if you have to do anything that requires the Western Union it’s more than likely a scam. 

Check-In-The-Mail Scam

I was sent a check by surprise, and deposited it into my account, after which my bank allowed me to withdraw part of it right away. The check did not clear, and I had to repay the bank. Beware of checks from businesses you don’t know, paying for services you did not perform.

The bottom line

All businesses that require upfront payments should be treated with extreme skepticism, and you should not give out money unless you are 100% sure it is not a scam. Businesses presenting you with opportunities should be checked out online, where others may already have identified them as scammers. It is far better to spend a few minutes of checking than lose a significant amount of money to a scam.

Editors Note: If you run into any of these or any other scam, please report it! For more information on how to report a scam check out How To Report A Work At Home Scam  on Wahtips. Every time you report a scam you could potentially save someone else. It’s important that we work together and put an end to these con artists!    



8 thoughts on “Top Online Scams

  • October 27, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Great list of potential scams. Give it another 5 years and everyone will have received a Nigerian email scam. It worries me how people fall for these scams even though you can see through most of them.

  • October 22, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    I have received so much spam email concerning these work at home job scams. Thankfully, I have the good sense to know when something is and is not real. What is sad is that many people will not even apply to genuine work at home jobs because they fear they are being scammed.

  • October 14, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    I had a friend who once almost fell for a check in the mail scam, luckily, when he tried to cash it, the place told him it was a scam. Unfortunately, this was after everyone tried to tell him it was a scam, including me. It’s really easy to fall for these scams, especially if you’re in a desperate situation.

  • Pingback:Why People Still Fall for Work at Home Scams | Wahtips

  • November 22, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I get those Nigerian emails all the time. It’s really sad that there are so many people out there trying to scam folks out of their hard earned money. Hopefully this article will help educate people who aren’t aware of these scams.

  • October 14, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    This is a great post. I have fallen victim to a few of these over the years and I vowed that I would never let it happen again. I am now very cautious in what I do and do a lot of research on the company first. The one that I find the most frustrating is the crafting one; there are so many talented people out there that just want to show off their skills, but there are very few places where you can actually find work.

  • September 2, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Even though there is so much information online about business opportunity scams, there are still so many victims that buy into those “dreams” only to find themselves in a worse financial situation than they were prior.

  • September 2, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Amazing post, Amanda. I have received some of those Nigerian scam emails in the past, but luckily I never fell for it. Unfortunately, some people still do.

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