An Arkansas court has fined a woman $1.3 million for running an envelope stuffing scam one of a number of work at home schemes that target people looking for a little extra income.

Customers paid $99 to be part of the program and were led to believe they would receive $10 for every advertisement they mailed out for the company. Arkansas officials say some were not paid at all, or were paid much less than they expected.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said work at home schemes are becoming an increasing problem and urged consumers to use caution when considering any such offer.

What to Look For

While these scams can take many forms, McDaniel said they have some common characteristics.

Bogus job offers almost always require the "employee" to deposit checks, money orders, or accept funds wired into his or her own personal bank account or credit card account, then keep a commission and wire the balance somewhere else, often to places outside of the United States.

Some victims of these scams have also been asked to process packages or perform certain tasks, such as envelope stuffing.

Whether the task is stuffing envelopes or forwarding checks, the net result is the same for the consumer, who almost always ends up losing a lot of money and getting a lot of trouble for their effort, said McDaniel.

Victims, who are promised big returns for performing tasks, often pay up front costs and never receive a dime in return; while others later learn that the money they are transferring is stolen, making them party to illegal activities.

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