It’s quite astonishing that scammers are still promoting stuffing envelopes as a legit work from home job.
I can tell you firsthand that stuffing envelopes for cash is a scam.
How do I know?
Because a long time ago, I fell for the stuffing envelopes scam.
You see, when I was in college, I worked part-time waiting tables. However, even though I made good money, between my class schedule and studying, I could only work a few shifts per week. So, you can imagine my excitement when I found a flyer on a bulletin board at school advertising envelope stuffer jobs.
The flyer claimed I could make $2.00 per envelope, all while working from the comfort of my home.
I immediately started calculating how many envelopes I could stuff in between classes and how much extra money I’d make per week; my life was going to be so much easier!
The flyer instructed me to send them a $12.00 upfront fee for the information on how to get started. I was so excited about the opportunity that I overlooked the red flags, like sending the payment to an anonymous P.O. Box or the exceeding high pay rates for entry-level work.
I waited for weeks for the information to arrive. When it finally did, I anxiously ripped open the envelope to learn that this so-called envelope-stuffing job was a pyramid scam.
The letter told me to promote the same scam that I had just fallen for by placing a want ad for envelope stuffers. Then when people respond to your ad, send them the same bogus information on how to replicate the scam.
I was so disappointed.
This was not a job. It was unethical information on how to scam people out of money. Luckily, I only lost $12.00.
Are Stuffing Envelopes Scams Still Around Today?
Sadly, I still come across this scam on the internet and various social media sites.
Only now, they charge $99–$399 or more for their so-called start-up kit.
In Tory Johnson’s book, “Will Work from Home,” she tests these fake online jobs with a few different companies, and none of them ever panned out. In her book, she says: “Recruiting people to stuff envelopes is the oldest work from home gimmick that fools people every day. Don’t be one of them”.
Both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) have alerts on their websites warning people of this scam. In fact, the United States Postal Service (USPS) says that stuffing envelopes is the most common work at home scam (the other is packing scams).
And if you think about it, why would a company that needs envelopes stuffed use an individual for this task when they can use a machine that folds, inserts, and seals 1,320 envelopes in one hour? There is no way a human can work that fast, and no company is going to pay high dollars for this unskilled task.
Are There Any Legitimate Envelope-Stuffing Jobs?
Occasionally, on sites like LinkedIn, Monster, Glassdoor, and Indeed, you’ll run into an ad for a legit envelope stuffer job. However, it’s usually an unpaid volunteer position where you go into an office and help a charity stuff envelopes for their fundraiser. Other times, you’ll see in-person job openings for receptionists, data entry and mailroom clerks, and customer service representatives, where stuffing envelopes is a small part of their job duties. And these positions usually pay $13-$15 per hour, not $2-$10 per envelope!
Generally, you’re not going to find work from home jobs where you’ll stuff envelopes as part of your job duties, as sending massive amounts of letters, envelopes, and postage stamps to a worker’s home would be cost-prohibitive to the employer.
What Should You Do if You’ve Fallen for This Scam?
If you’ve fallen for this scam, contact your bank or credit card company and have them issue a stop payment order. If the money is already gone, you can try contacting the company that you purchased the information from and request a refund. Be sure to tell them that if they do not refund your money, you will be contacting officials to investigate their operations further.
If you cannot resolve the situation, contact the FTC (1-877-FTC-HELP) to report the issue. You can also contact your local US Postal Inspection Service. Since these scammers are using P.O. Boxes to run their scam operations, they will investigate these fraudulent mail practices.
What to Watch Out for When Searching for Work at Home Jobs
When you’re searching for work at home jobs, you need to take your time and research the job opportunity extensively!
Scammers know they can make a quick and easy buck by preying on people’s vulnerabilities. What I mean by vulnerabilities is when people are struggling to make ends meet, or they need to be at home for a new baby or elderly parent, there is a sense of urgency, and these scammers know this. So they create their ads to appeal to these emotions.
The second reason scams are so prevalent is technology has made it easy than ever to distribute scams while hiding behind a digital curtain.
For these reasons, it’s more important than ever for you to educate yourself on what’s legit and what’s not.
Here are some red flags job seekers need to watch out for:
- Negative reviews.
- No contact information — scammers don’t want to be found.
- Vague job descriptions.
- Outrageous income claims with little or no effort on your part.
- Pressure to act quickly.
- Unsolicited job offers.
- Poor spelling and grammar.
- Interviews via messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Messenger.
- Imposter scams – fake companies posing as real companies using free email addresses like Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Real-Life Work From Home Jobs to Explore
If you’re an aspiring envelope stuffer, you’re likely disappointed that this isn’t a legit job. However, there are many other legitimate work from home jobs worth exploring.
1. Data Entry Clerk
Becoming a remote data entry operator might be your calling if you’re a fast and accurate typist with excellent written communication skills. You’ll verify and enter data into spreadsheets and online databases in these roles. You may also be assigned other clerical tasks like answering emails and online research.
To find work from home data entry jobs, check out:
2. Graphic Designer
If you’re skilled at using programs like Adobe Photoshop or Canva, you can create items like logos, sales letters, business cards, labels, printables, and other promotional materials. As a graphic designer, you can do freelance work on a project-by-project basis or apply for full-time jobs. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly rate for a graphic designer is $27.88 per hour.
Check out these online job boards for graphic design jobs:
3. Online Tutor
If you have expertise in a subject matter like math, English, biology, or nursing, you might be able to make extra money tutoring students online. There are tons of online platforms that connect students to teachers in a wide variety of subjects. Tutoring gigs tend to have flexible work hours, and most gigs are independent contracting roles. To start working as a tutor, you must prove your expertise by taking a preliminary exam or submitting the appropriate documentation.
You can find online tutoring jobs at:
Transcribers listen to audio files and transcribe (type) them into written documents. Transcription jobs tend to be independent contracting positions and require quick and accurate typing skills, excellent listening skills, and a solid grasp of the English language. The nice thing about these positions is they offer flexible scheduling, and you can usually take on as much or as little as you can handle.
You can find online transcription jobs at:
5. Virtual Assistant Jobs
Virtual assistants, VA for short, are skilled professionals who handle a wide variety of administrative tasks based on the client’s needs. Duties may include scheduling, calendar maintenance, data entry, writing, editing, booking travel, marketing, and more. Virtual assistants must be detail-oriented, have excellent communication skills, and be excellent time handlers.
If this sounds like a dream job, check out:
Finding Legitimate Alternatives to Stuffing Envelopes
If you’re still feeling uneasy about your work at home job search — check out the paid membership site, FlexJobs. Every single job listed on their website is hand-screened for legitimacy. So when you apply, you can rest assured that you’re not going to fall prey to a work from home scam. Not only does FlexJobs have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but they also offer a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.
Want more legit work from home job leads? Sign up for my free newsletter, where I send out new vetted remote job leads twice a week.
Have you encountered the stuffing envelopes scam? What other fraudulent opportunities have you come across?
Originally published on March 31, 2009. Content updated December 2023.