Envelope Stuffing Scam
Have you ever gotten that mail advertising an opportunity for earning quick and easy cash from home by stuffing envelopes? Ever wondered if it was a scam or if it really worked? Well, it turns out that it is indeed yet another ploy scammers used to get your money for nothing.
The Federal Trade Commission actually actively prosecutes large envelope-stuffing schemes, and so far it has leveled charges against 77 work-at-home schemes in 17 states. Many of these schemes were envelope-stuffing operations.
What They Offer
Scammers pushing envelope-stuffing schemes promise lots of money for little effort, and they promise you will start earning quickly too. To learn more, you just have to send in a self addressed envelope.
They won't give lots of details right away but will instead ask you for a small fee (sometimes called a "good faith" payment, sometimes called a processing fee) to show that you're really serious before they give you too many details. Or, they may ask you to pay for a start-up kit that tells you all you need to know and gives you everything you need to get started. Of course, they don’t give too many details about what's in the kit. They will, however, promise free stamps and envelopes for your "business" and a money-back guarantee if you're not completely satisfied. What's there to lose, right? Wrong.
What Happens When You Respond?
Once you're responded to the envelope-stuffing promotion and paid them a fee for the tools and information, you'll find out that what you're really stuffing is actually more promotions to stuff envelopes. The "circular," "product," or whatever they say you're stuffing, is just more promotional material, probably the exact same letter you read yourself convincing you to send in money!
This type of scam is a circular cycle. In order for you to get paid by the promoters, you must recruit others to send in money. You are not in fact getting paid to stuff envelopes; instead you are sending out promotional materials to recruit others to send the scammers their money so you can get paid (like a commission). The cycle is complete when other people are scammed into sending in money like you were, except this time you are the person sending them the offer.
So the free stamps and envelopes you were promised actually come to you when someone else sends in their self-addressed envelope for you to stuff. Of course you have to advertise to get these people to send in their advertisements, and this is definitely not free! You use your own money to advertise the "program," and these are costs you probably didn't anticipate.
The money you do end up making, if any, is not easy or quick like the scammers promised. It's a waste of your time and effort, and after all of the promoting you had to do to get anyone to send in money, you have probably lost money in the end that your commission doesn't even cover.
But what about the money-back guarantee?
Even if there is a money-back guarantee offered by the promoters of the envelope-stuffing scheme, you will probably not qualify for the supposed refund. This is because the terms of the refund are set by the scammers, so to qualify to get your money back, you usually have to fill a certain number of orders - between 50 and 250. It's actually cheaper to give up to the money you've already put down than to continue working to get your refund. And chances are the scammers will be moving their address and postal box soon too since you're probably not the only upset person that's been duped.