Who isn't seduced by the idea of making a little extra money on the side by working from home? We've all seen the ads promising good and easy money for simply stuffing envelopes.
"They could work from home and get paid $10.00 for every envelope they stuffed," said U.S. Postal Inspector Stephanie Barrett.
Sounds like a great deal, right? This work-at-home opportunity claimed for a $150 fee up front, employees could make thousands.
"So, the victims would receive 200 envelopes thinking they are going to earn $2000 for stuffing these envelopes," said Barrett.
But it was a scam. Inspectors say you have to look for the red flags.
"They are only receiving money for responses received and that is less than 1%," said Barrett. "One of the big misrepresentations that was left out of these letters, was that people had to buy their own stamps. In the letter, it stated the stamps were paid for."
Postal inspectors began working the case and caught the two sisters and one of their husbands behind the scheme.
"Over the 8 years this scheme was run, there were about 25,000 victims totaling more than $3.5 million dollars in loss," Barrett added.
Inspectors ended up seizing the house and 20 acres of land the husband and wife lived on, which was worth over $1 million.
Postal inspectors say after a 4-day trial and just 30 minutes of deliberations, those involved in the case were found guilty on all 30 counts against them. The husband and wife duo each received 12 years in prison.
To avoid this scam, inspectors offer this advice:
"Do their due diligence. Get on the internet, Google the name of the company, Put scam behind the company. Look on the Better Business Bureau's website and verify that this company is a legitimate company," said Barrett.