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Office of Consumer Protection

Work-at-Home

The Office of Consumer Protection frequently gets calls about whether a particular Work at Home opportunity is "legitimate". While we cannot tell you whether a particular offer is right for you, we can tell you that in Maryland it is illegal to require a consumer to advance any money in order to earn money at home. 
The law states: A person who places any advertisement that represents that any person can earn money at home by stuffing or addressing envelopes, mailing circulars, clipping newspaper or magazine articles, or performing similar work:
  1. Shall pay compensation to others for performing the represented tasks; and
  2. May not require the person who will perform the represented tasks to advance any monetary payment or deposit to the person who placed the advertisement on any instructional booklets, brochures, kits, programs or similar information materials, mailing lists, directories, memberships in cooperative associations, or other items or services. (  Annotated Code of Maryland, Commercial Law Article, §13-314)
Before committing to a work at home company, here are some tips that will help you avoid becoming a victim of a work at home scam:
  • Contact the   Securities Division of the Maryland Attorney General's Office to verity that the franchise or business opportunity is registered and to inquire about any complaints filed against the franchisor or seller.
  • Do not send any money; legitimate employers do not charge money to get started.
  • Make sure that you can contact the company, and that they have a physical address not just a post office box.
  • Be wary of ads claiming to make large amounts of money in a short period of time. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Find out what the company's return policy is and get it in writing.
  • Find out, in writing, who and by what method you will be paid (paycheck, direct deposit, pay pal).
  • By what method is the company basing your pay? Is it salary, hourly, or on commission?

For more information see   Work-at-Home Schemes by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or   With Work-at-Home Scams, You're the One Who Pays by the Maryland Attorney General's Office.

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