Can You Believe People Actually Fall for This Work-From-Home Scam?

work from home scams
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We know working from home is a goal for many of you.

And we know that you know work-from-home scams are everywhere.

We’ve all seen the signs pasted on telephone poles or emblazoned across websites that promise you’ll earn six figures while working part-time in your pajamas.

Though you may have figured those claims were a bunch of baloney, did you ever think about what would happen if you actually followed through with one of them?

How does the scam work? Do people really fall for it?

The NPR podcast Planet Money decided to investigate. Here’s what they learned about the murky world of work-from-home scams.

How Do Work-From-Home Scams Work?

For its report, NPR used two main sources: Ryan Jensen, who worked at, and eventually owned, a work-from-home call center, and recordings from a call center called Tax Club.

Though you should listen to the podcast for all the details — and the actual phone calls, which are fascinating-slash-horrifying — here’s a brief rundown of what happens when you call one of those mysterious numbers…

1. Your call is routed to a call center, many of which are located in Utah.

2. A salesperson (in the sample call, his name is Blake) chats you up about your future work-from-home business.

He follows a specific script — one that has been “honed over years, passed all around Utah,” reports NPR.

Why? Because it’s “the most time-tested, most efficient way to get someone to eventually give you their credit card number.”

After making you feel comfortable, Blake asks probing questions about your finances, determining how many assets you have.

3. Blake then addresses your “pain points,” creating a reason you need whatever he’s selling.

4. Finally, Blake goes in for the kill: He asks you to sign up for a coaching program that will help you launch your home-based business.

How much does the program cost? Oh, just a mere $4,785, plus a monthly fee of $49.95.


How could anyone — including the woman in the sample call — fall for this?

Because the salespeople are good. They make it seem like you’ll never be successful without their support.

But, of course, this isn’t true.

Legitimate Work-From-Home Jobs

You don’t need an expensive training or coaching program to start working from home.

Apply to one of these 100 companies hiring remote workers, start a freelance gig like transcription or try one of our many suggestions for making money in your PJs.

We do our best to never steer you wrong.

Your Turn: Have you ever been tempted by a work-from-home scam?

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.