52 Weeks: Earnings Offline – Work at Home Scams

From the book:

Work at home ads

Somewhere in the help wanted section you will probably see an ad that says, “Home workers desperately needed.” I checked this out years ago. They send you a book of fake employers who supposedly hire piece workers.

I was good at cross-stitch so I applied for a cross-stitch job. The pattern they sent me was obviously wrong and resulted in a hot mess. When I corrected the pattern and made a good piece, they rejected it. For another one, they rejected everything I sent in. The only way to make a profit was to place ads like the one I had answered, selling this bogus book to other hopeful home workers.

  • Real employers’ ads will have an email or snail mail address to which to send your resume.
    • Scammers will have a phone number for you to call.
  • Real employers will state the job tasks and the skills they expect you to have.
    • Scammers will entice you with a dollar amount they say you can earn.
  • Real employers don’t emphasize that the job can be done at home; they emphasize the nature of the job.
  • Real employers don’t ask you to pay to apply for a job.

Unfortunately, real demand for people to work at home is very low. My conclusion is that work at home ads, especially if they ask you for money, are probably scams.

Movie extras

Also, watch out for the one about movie extras wanted. Cliff signed up for it and they tried to charge a monthly fee to his credit card. He got no jobs from it.

If movie extra work appeals to you, go directly to your local film commission to find work. Type your state and the words “local film commission” into an Internet search engine. One of the results will be an official website with contact information.


Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.



Another Online Earning Opportunity

Previously, I had assumed that the uPromise program I saw advertised at Publix Supermarkets was strictly for saving for college. Not so! I can earn cash back for myself just by registering my cards I use for shopping. They also give you earnings when you buy certain items at Publix. For details, see this other blog:  http://www.iheartpublix.com/2011/05/ask-i-heart-publix-what-is-upromise/

Is It True? – Selling Your Long Hair

In the summer of 2012 I was selling stuff. I wondered about selling my hair so I searched the internet. I looked for wig companies that might buy my hair, and none of them would.

So I wondered: if the wig companies don’t want to buy my hair, where do wig makers get the human hair they use?

I found out they get it from religious ceremonies in which Hindus have all their hair cut off, leaving it in the temple. As many as 25,000 people a day sacrifice their hair at temples in India. The temples collect it and sell it to a wholesaler and use the money to help the poor.

I found articles that made it sound as if there is a big demand for hair, with prices in the hundreds to thousands, but where if not wig companies?

I looked for auction sites and found some. There were several sites showing hair for sale with high final bids over a thousand dollars!

www.buyandsellhair.com is an auction-style online site for selling hair. The ad cost me $14.95 for 90 days. To sell your hair on this site you need at least 10 inches that can be cut off. You need up to four good pictures, including ponytail shots to show the thickness, to upload to your ad posting. If you have used no chemicals or dyes you can advertise your hair as “virgin” hair. Some of the ads mention that they take vitamins and eat a healthy diet. Some say they never use heat such as blow dryers or curling irons on their hair, and wash their hair just a couple of times a week. (Apparently daily washing can weaken hair.) Some mention their ethnicity, or that their hair lives in a non-smoking home.

I listed my 25 inches of virgin wavy auburn hair at $500 or best offer. As described in the “Scams” section on the site, several responders were clearly all set to cheat me. Thanks to the warnings on the site, I knew to accept only www.paypal.com payments and to ship by my choice of shipper, not theirs.

I began to get emails. One said, would you be willing to go to a buzz cut?

Why do they care? I’m offering X inches of hair. I didn’t answer that one.

Another said: you’ll get more for your hair if you let the buyer cut it.

Why? Any pro can cut off long hair for sale. I asked, what if they aren’t local?

He replied: the buyer will travel to you or pay travel expenses.

That could be a lot of money – it makes no sense. I stopped responding to that one too.

So I searched more deeply and learned that there is a paraphilia in which fetishists get off on watching a woman’s hair cut off very short, sometimes with her pretending to resist the cut. Buyers who want to watch or video the cut, or meet you somewhere and cut it themselves, are probably fetishists. That’s what the larger payments are for.

In the end I did sell my hair on buyandsellhair.com for $125 to someone who wanted hair, not a hair cutting experience. I know of one person who sold her hair on eBay, to a doll maker. Another sold to an artist making his own human hair brushes.

My experience with trying to sell my hair was what got me started with questioning everything I always assumed about saving and earning money and of course everything I see on the internet. I did my best to test anything I could that I put into my book.

Some things sound great in an article on the internet or in a magazine. Then when you go to do it, it turns out to be more complicated. The folks who write articles are not always given the time and the budget to fully check out everything they’re saying. I learned to take it with a grain of salt and compare it to common sense and my own experience. I use search engines to find out more about the things I read.


Earnin’ nickels, Earnin’ dimes

It’s 10 a.m. and I’m well into my weekday morning routine of making little bits of money on the internet. I click on the videos at http://www.swagbucks.com and over the course of the day the ‘bucks’ I earn build up to a dollar or two. I especially enjoy the comedy clips and animal clips. When I need or want to search for information about something, which happens all day long, I use http://www.mypoints.com’s search feature and earn points for each search. Among my emails will be some from MyPoints and when I click the link in the email I get points. Both ‘bucks’ and points can be redeemed for a wide variety of gift cards covering just about any retail product there is.

When the snail mail comes it will include some advertising test mailings from http://www.hausernet.com. I go to their website and enter the advertiser’s name, a code from the envelope and the condition of the item. The longer I work for Hausernet the more mail they send me and the more nickels I earn.

While I’m online I’ll go to http://www.marketforce.com’s shopper portal and see if they have any secret shops I could do. Since I junked the car I’m not eligible for as many as I was but I still get grocery store shops and that’s very helpful. On a good brain day I’ll go to https://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome and do some of their simpler tasks. They are always interesting.

Granted, little kids in Indonesian sweatshops make more per hour than I do, but it’s certainly easy. I don’t have to get hired. I don’t have to be able to learn complicated stuff. If I have something else to do I don’t have to call in or explain. My time is my own and if I use my time for blogging or napping instead of clicking, no one cares. I work for myself and I’m a very lenient boss.

(With apologies to Roy Orbison for paraphrasing ‘Blue Bayou’.)