Can you really make money stuffing envelopes?
April 11, 2007 4:40 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone tried the stuffing envelopes for money thing that you see in classified ads? Is it real, can you really make money off of it?

The particular one I'm referring to asks you to pay fourty dollars for an application fee and says it will send you all the supplies. It also says that you can make 5 dollars per envelope you stuff.

This seems too good to be true, is it?
posted by thebrokenmuse to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, it is too good to be true.
posted by yohko at 4:43 PM on April 11, 2007

Your $40 will purchase instructions on how to place classified ads which offer to teach others how to make money stuffing envelopes.
posted by jamaro at 4:44 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Here's what the postal service has to say about it.

Now, if you really want to make some money, I have this bridge I can sell you, but first I need some help getting the money I inherited out of Nigeria. To prove I can trust you, I will send you a money order -- cash it, keep half for your payment, and send the rest to me.
posted by yohko at 4:48 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

More details from the Straight Dope.
posted by katemonster at 4:52 PM on April 11, 2007

Envelope stuffing is a joke considering there are stuffing machines that do the same thing. They might as well advertise "make money drawing bar code stickers"!
posted by rolypolyman at 4:58 PM on April 11, 2007 [2 favorites]

Yep, run away. However, ages ago, my brother answered such an ad and it had a bit of a twist. He copied provided crossword puzzles and handed them out or posted them on bulletin boards. People could fill out the puzzle and send it in with $1 to "enter a contest." He got 50 cents for each dollar sent in. I think he made about 50 cents.
posted by The Deej at 5:14 PM on April 11, 2007

My mother, when she found herself recently-widowed in her early thirties and supporting three young kids took on a number of odd jobs, though one she did for years on the side was envelope stuffing. Of course, where I grew up there was a rather large greeting card and invitation company that was always hiring workers on a per diem basis to do this. While I doubt it paid very much, she certainly did do it for a long time to supplement the family income and after a certain amount of practice the process becomes entirely mindless and automatic; I remember many a night watching baseball games, helping her out.

I'd be suspicious of anything that you see in a "Make money at home!" ad though and maybe just go directly to local stationery companies and ask if they do hire people to do this at home.
posted by inoculatedcities at 6:09 PM on April 11, 2007

Here are a couple of resources and info about work-from-home scams:

Rob Cockerham's extensive report on the Herbalife scam (those signs you see around town advertising "Work From Home" are often for Herbalife. Read - or skim - his article to get tons of stories about how Herbalife has duped people out of tons of money. It's a very in-depth article, and explains how these kinds of things generally work.)

The Snopes Urban Legend Reference Page directory of frauds and scams. Snopes is also a great place to check out when you get an email that urges you to send in money, or urges you to pass it on.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:56 PM on April 11, 2007

Also a previous mefi question about pyramid scheme chain letters with extensive answers.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:00 PM on April 11, 2007

Is it real, can you really make money off of it?

No, and no.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:05 PM on April 11, 2007

jamaro is exactly right. You pay them $40, they send you a few sheets of instructions on how to place classified ads for them. People send you $40 in response to those ads, you then send on those payments to the person you paid the $40 to, and they reimburse you $5 of that $40 - it's a pyramid scheme.

Keep in mind newspapers/magazines won't run ads for pyramid schemes, which is why the ads use "stuffing envelopes" or "compiling addresses" instead. They're lying so people don't realize what they're really "selling".
posted by smashingstars at 11:49 PM on April 11, 2007

I work at a printmail company, I'm pretty sure our mail stuffers make something a little above minimum wage. The machines can stuff statements automatically, but we need to people to stuff more complicated stuff like added promotional materials.
posted by exhilaration at 11:13 AM on April 12, 2007

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