How to Avoid Falling for Envelope Stuffing Scams

“Make thousands working from home. Our partners make over $3,000 in their first month. Anybody can do it!”

What kind of a home job could promise that? Copywriting? Designing? Programming?

If the ads about making a lot of money from simply stuffing envelopes seem too good to be true; they probably are. The proliferation of envelope stuffing ads is already so dense, and the promises of easy riches are so grand, that it is a wonder that no one yet has ever heard of a truly substantial, living and breathing person making a killing in this market.

Yes, it is true that there are testimonials from people who claim to make thousands of dollars off this kind of “job” – and these can be quite convincing and enticing at the same time.

envelope stuffing

However, you should remember that these so-called testimonials can never be verified; it is not as if people would actually take the time and effort to check up on the name of the person, look him or her up and ask that person directly.

If you want extra cash, you may be interested to give it a try. The problem is:

  • Getting into the program costs you money (aka pay to work)
  • You hope they pay you, but they don’t have to

Who would have thought it? Does it make sense to spend money when you’re looking to make it? Don’t let them fool you: envelope stuffing is NOT an investment.

Envelope Stuffing: Make Money From Home Doing …Nothing?

Make Money From Home Doing ...Nothing

Admittedly enough, envelope stuffing used to be practiced among companies who wished to sell products or services via direct mail. It was considered back then as a legitimate form of advertising.

But these were the days when the radio was an immovable box on the fireplace den, TV sets had wooden casings and the term Web meant an arachnid’s undoing. Advertising had evolved to such a degree that this practice is almost (but not quite) obsolete.

There are individuals and companies who still do this, of course, but not as much as before. These days, the by-product of most envelope stuffing companies is what we now call as junk mail; and this practice of envelope stuffing itself is what we now call as a get-rich-quick scam.

First of all, the idea alone that you can make thousand of dollars sitting pretty at home – no need to get up early, or commute to work, or even dress up – is enough to raise anyone’s expectations.

This seems like an ideal type of “job” for individuals who are stuck at home:

  • Mothers with very young kids in tow.
  • The elderly.
  • Disabled people.
  • And basically anyone who cannot or does not want to get a conventional job for one reason or the other.

Secondly, the “job” seems simple enough. In other words, you do not need to have a Ph.D. attached to your name or even an impressive resume to get you started. Envelope stuffing is, simply put, just that: you stuff envelopes with letters or pamphlets.

Supposedly, you get paid per envelope you complete. So the equation goes: one simple task + a bit of effort = money. That simple equation alone gets to a lot of people already.

Is Envelope Stuffing an Opportunity?

To the eyes of the victim, envelope stuffing is an opportunity:

  • You make more money the harder you work
  • It requires no skills, and you can do it anywhere anytime 
  • You earn a lot by investing a bit of your time
  • Others make you money while you sleep (with the help of an affiliate program)

The only downside is that there is a minimum sacrifice on the part of the “job applicant”. All you need to do is send a completed application form and pay a certain amount for the starter kit. But who wouldn’t give $100 now to receive $1000 next week?

Now, if you consider the conventional ways of getting a job like: having your photo taken, getting your resume done, commuting within and outside town, spending money on a suit, going to job interviews, etc. – and getting your feet all tired out too – paying a hundred dollars or so doesn’t seem that much at all.

Victims — also known as money chasers in this case — will invest money for the promise of earning more. They rarely question the company, or whether their task offers real value.

Unfortunately, envelope stuffing is indeed a scam: a get-rich-quick, work-at-home, direct- mail scam. The scammer has people to work for him, but victims never make any money. People find them on freelance websites, ad campaigns, and social media.

Why does it work so well? Because it’s well disguised. If the victim earns nothing, you blame them for not working hard enough. The catch? Every new member has to put exponentially more effort to sustain the pyramid scheme.

There are some legitimate smaller companies and micro-entrepreneurs that still perform direct mail advertising, but they will always seek the services of a printing company or a turnkey logistical service that can more or less automate this process for them.

Let us now analyze the different components of the envelope stuffing scheme.

How Much Does It Cost To Get Started?

How Much Does It Cost To Get Started

Be ready to invest. But don’t worry, every dollar you put will bring you ten more! Or so they say. Here’s what’s suspicious: you pay some fees and goods you don’t even know you need.

Entry Fee

You can’t join their program without paying first, which can cost anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds or even thousands. It may be a monthly subscription.

“This upfront fee ensures that freelancers like you can make thousands a month. This “toll” prevents people from saturating our program. Those who are serious and invest in themselves will make a huge income from home.”

How do you know it’s not an advance fee fraud? You don’t. 

Starter Kit

You need to pay the fee to access, but that doesn’t guarantee you will make any money.

“You won’t earn anything until you get the envelope stuffing kit. We’ve got your back: send us $200 and we’ll send you everything you need.”

You know they’ve worked with many freelancers. So they must know what tools to buy better than you. However, these are either:

  • highly overpriced,
  • unknown items,
  • or never sent.

What? Didn’t you make thousands after buying the kit? That’s because you didn’t buy our advanced kit v2.0. It will help you do better than the dozens of freelancers joining us daily.

Goodwill Money

Your employer owns the ship. Anytime, they can make up excuses to give them money, especially once you’re earning something. 

If they don’t trust you will deliver, they will ask for “goodwill money.” They keep this amount until you finish your first month, for example.

How Much Can You Make Stuffing Envelopes?

How Much Can You Make Stuffing Envelopes

How did you find this amazing opportunity? A Facebook Ad? A referral from a friend? A cold-email reach out? Don’t think you’re the only lucky one who found it. There’re likely hundreds of visitors in the same spot you are.

You get paid last after the hundreds who joined before you. You could work harder, but it becomes impossible when there are too many people to outcompete. You may have heard of pyramid schemes. If you’ve applied for an envelope stuffing position, you’re probably inside one of these schemes now.

Can you trust their envelope stuffing testimonials? Yes, but you can’t think you’ll get the same results. Not even one-tenth. In envelope stuffing, only the scammer makes money. Even if you came first, pyramid schemes only last so long before they are revealed and start decaying.

Understand you have to be very lucky to make profits from such a job. If you aren’t on the scammer’s inner circle, assume it won’t happen.

Why Envelope Stuffing Will Cost You More Than What You Earn

Why Envelope Stuffing Will Cost You More Than What You Earn

Freelancers who are desperate for many may ignore many red flags. Who is this employer? Why did they pick me? How sustainable is this income source? Here are four facts that instantly disqualify a get-rich-quick opportunity.

Zero Value Created

Would you spend money on something you don’t need? Many customers like you won’t pay unless a product creates value. For example:

  • Give hope, make them feel and look better
  • Solve a problem
  • Prevent something good from disappearing
  • Educate

The company’s product may do these things, but envelope stuffing doesn’t. Do you think the time you save them on stuffing is worth paying you? Think again.

Professionals VS You

Solving a problem isn’t enough: it must be something other’s haven’t solved yet. When you join, there will be people who work faster than you, for longer, for cheaper.

Knowing that envelope stuffing is easy to automate, there’s probably a bunch of agencies doing it. These companies are professional, work faster, and charge five times less. Why would they choose you, being inexperienced and more expensive? They won’t.

If they do, it’s because they want something from you.


Survivorship bias. Whenever a lucky person wins, you’ll hear about it. He will go viral on social media and appear on the news. But what about the millions who lost money before him? Deafening silence.

Before joining any program, have clear expectations about what is possible. Study those who succeeded and those who didn’t. Why are they different?

Pyramids create a shortage of success: those who make money bring more people, and every new member makes less and less until it stagnates.

The Product Is You

Would it surprise you if the offer they promote is the same they used to hire you? “Get money for nothing.”

You are the customer and the employee at the same time. The amount of money you make depends on the pyramid stage and how many fools fall into this chain letter scam. You work for a con man, which makes you a scammer without knowing it.

Business Principles

Five variables will guarantee you create lasting wealth with any business model. You need market demand, low competition, control, a model you automate, and a large customer base. They’re the reason some people succeed, others don’t— and why envelope stuffing is a scam.

  • Need: Envelope stuffing has no value nor demand. Most marketers rely on Internet marketing more than direct mail. Nobody wants to pay someone to prepare junk email no-one will read anyway.
  • Entry Barrier: ANYBODY can do it. If you do make money, it won’t be long before others find out, join the program, and take a piece of the cake. Get-rich-easy is the biggest red flag of a scam.
  • Control: You lost the moment you joined someone else’s program. You must do what the employer says as long as they want for the price they want. If anything bad happens, you lose it all.
  • Time: You stuff X envelopes, you make X money, trading hours for dollars. You might use a machine or delegate, but the pay is too small to get any profits from it.
  • Scale: How many people does your work affect? As many people as envelopes you stuff. Compare it with uploading a video that thousands of people watch. In envelope stuffing, it’s one letter for one person: minimum scale.

How To Prevent Work-From-Home Scams

How To Prevent Work From Home Scams

Everybody wants money. Preferably, fast and easy. The problem? Most people confuse what’s easy with what’s hard. It’s hard to make money with no market need, control, entry barrier, time, or scale. Yet, that’s what scammers make other’s believe to be the best option.


Get-rich-quick models do exist, and anybody who works hard enough may be able to do it. The catch? The entry barrier: you can’t do the same everyone else does, and it can’t be easy if you have no special skills.

The next time you find envelope stuffing ads, ask the employer about the entry process.

  • How easy is it to get into?
  • What will make me special from others who joined?
  • What factors will affect the amount I earn compared to what your testimonials promise?

You’d be lucky if you find someone to even ask these questions. Most schemes are automated websites to reach as many victims as possible.

Question Any Upfront Fee

As a freelancing rule of thumb, never pay until they do. Although you should always give value upfront, the employer has to back up any payment with a complete explanation.

Be wary when they hide information from you. In envelope staffing fraud, initial costs are a cash-grab, never essential.

It may be normal— not common — to pay upfront when working with some employers.

What You Are Stuffing

The circulars or pamphlets you are stuffing into the envelopes are all about enticing people into joining the envelope stuffing business. If you find yourself staring at the same thing you have actually read that made you want to join this “business,” then chances are you are contributing to the continued proliferation of this scam.

There is actually no other company in need of your envelope stuffing business, except the promoter(s) of the scam. All their promises of letting you make hundreds and even thousands of dollars in envelope stuffing, actually boils down to you finding someone else to do the same work.

Basically, you need to find someone else to entice about the envelope stuffing business or else, you won’t get a dime.

Get A Second Opinion

Before you spend a single penny, find people who may know about the program. Instead of reading a marketing blog, find a real person to ask about this bogus program.

If a friend shared it with you, ask him how he found out. Most pyramids use mouth-to-mouth and chain letters to bring members. Go where you found the original message and look for contact information.

In Conclusion

If you could make money from nothing, why would you resist? The sale page is convincing, and there’re dozens of testimonials as you scroll. Sadly, scammers make money by just promising to make you money.

In order to protect yourself from scammers like this, all you really need to do is to keep a level head. There really is no easy way to get rich (unless you are very lucky), and any company that promises you just that, in a short amount of time, is a sham.

If you are reading advertisements about “jobs” like these, it’s quite all right to get interested and inquire; but when they start asking for money, (and pestering you about it when you balk) it would be best to drop the subject and look elsewhere. You are supposed to earn money, not give it away, remember?

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