Beware work-at-home scams

HOUSTON In a bad economy, you may be tempted to try to make extra money at home. But be wary. The Federal Trade Commission has gone after hundreds of work-at-home schemes in recent years. Consumer Reports looked at several current offers and can tell you what kinds to avoid.

Countless work-at-home web sites claim you can earn thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. For instance, maybe you're handy and would like to assemble flies for fly-fishing or other products at home. Gone Fish'n Tackle Company promises to pay 50 cents per fly. But Consumer Reports' Greg Daugherty says here's the catch.

"After you pay for the materials from Gone Fish'n, you'd have to tie more than 30 flies an hour just to make minimum wage," he explained.

Longtime fisherman Charles George says even with his experience, he couldn't tie that many good flies in an hour, and certainly not all day long.

"I don't think it is easy money," George said.

Another site - - promises to teach you how to make as much as $350,000 a year stuffing envelopes and mailing company circulars.

Daugherty explained, "We paid $67 for access to a Web site that tells you how to place ads and ensnare other people in get-rich-quick schemes."

Then there's Google Money Tree, which is not affiliated with the Google search engine. It claims its free CD will tell you an amazing secret of selling on the Internet.

"The information isn't very helpful and if you don't cancel within a week, the company will charge your credit card $72 a month for access to its website," Daugherty cautioned.

Consumer Reports says before you sign up for any offer, check with the Better Business Bureau. It gave all three of these companies a big "F." Consumer Reports contacted all three companies, but only Gone Fish'n responded. A spokesperson says dissatisfied customers can get a full refund on the fly-tying kit within 45 days of purchase.

There are real work-at-home opportunities, but they can get lost in the shuffle. The real work-at-home offers generally require you to do customer service or call center work, but there are others. Go to to find some very good, and real work-at-home sites.

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