“Stuff Envelopes for Cash”



I fell for the scam.

I was a naïve, teenaged college student, working summer factory jobs to pay for expenses, looking for a way to earn cash that would not interrupt my classes (social life).

It seemed harmless enough. Send $2. cash and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to a post office box, and they would get you started.

Earn money in your own time, from the comfort of your dormitory room.

What I thought I would get is a box of ads, political material, charity solicitations, etc. with instructions on how to “stuff those envelopes”.

What I received was a multi-paged booklet that described how you could run your own ad, collect $2. from other willing victims. The only envelopes you would be stuffing were their self-addressed, stamped request for information.

Brilliant hoax.

I was annoyed, and embarrassed that I’d fallen for it, but I was only out $2. and the cost of  postage, which was six cents at the time. I didn’t report them, didn’t file a complaint with the University, I just moved on.

It was true. I could have made money. There would have been envelope stuffing involved.

Years later, and a bit wiser,  I would buy into a MLM…Multi Level Marketing program that some would declare a bit of a pyramid scheme. It didn’t last, but I was out a bit more than $2.06.

But that’s a story for another day.

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64 Responses to Scam

  1. Jim says:

    a friend of Bernie Madoff?

  2. Just Plain Ol' Vic says:

    Could have been worse for sure. At least they were not from Nigeria…

  3. Judy Martin says:

    It is a hard lesson to learn getting caught up in a scam, but thank goodness you were not too much out of pocket.

  4. I think we’ve all tried at least one of the “work at home” schemes. I didn’t fall for the envelope stuffing only because I had a friend who did and who warned me about it. I also had a friend – a very young stay-at-home mom with 3 toddlers – who fell for the scheme whereby you sew medical sponges at home and get paid only if they “meet the expectations” of the company. Naturally, they never seemed to be good enough, and she was doing all that work for free. But they had some really good reps who managed to string her along for quite awhile as she struggled to get better in accordance with their wishes.

    • Wow…that’s a new one to me. I think there are a lot of internet predators out there now, promising those work from home jobs. I doubt that any are legitimate, beyond those product review types…which pay very little, I hear. ☺

  5. I think this might be where my trust issues and inherent cynicism reap rewards. I’m sorry you got scammed.

  6. I have always said to myself, Jacqueline, if it sounds too good to be true, then it is not. Imagine how many people they squeeze that amount off? I wish such scammers are caught and hung by their fingernails.

  7. LaVagabonde says:

    The people who run these things are truly scumbags. How can they get away with it? I’ve escaped the clutches of more than one pyramid marketer, including friends and colleagues. As soon as anyone gets caught in that web, they start to see all potential acquaintances as new recruits. So annoying.

  8. C.E.Robinson says:

    Van, good to be wiser about such scams! Years ago I fell for the college student (?) in a supermarket parking lot selling magazines. I made the check out and wished him well in his studies! Yep, check cashed and no mags! Scammers are everywhere! Chryssa

  9. Erica Herd says:

    I almost started selling Amway products in my 20s, but changed my mind at the last minute.

  10. Erika Kind says:

    I just went to a lecture this Friday. It was about MAP (My Advertising Pays). It is a similar principle. But it costs a lot more money to pre invest.

  11. George says:

    Wow…I had forgotten all about that years old scam until you reminded me. So many people took part in that little money maker. I remember seeing the ads in the newspaper and thinking it looked like a great way to make money. But then scams got a little more complex and serious. But that’s a story for another day..:)

  12. Oh, we all have our stories here…

  13. Eek! Sorry you got scammed Van. I’m so skeptical, on the other hand, that I probably miss out on legitimate opportunities! ❤
    Diana xo

  14. I used to see those ads and think they were legit. When I was in college a local print shop would hire me to either stuff envelopes or place inserts or similar. Made some good money.

  15. The V-Pub says:

    Well, I bought sea monkeys before. They didn’t look anything like a monkey. 🙂

  16. We all—at one time or another—have looked for an easier more convenient way to get money. Unfortunately, it seems to be those selling it (scams) who are finding it. We prefer an honest income over an unethical one. Damn, what’s wrong with us, Van? 😀

  17. lbeth1950 says:

    I always wondered how envelope stuffing worked. I guess I owe you $2.06 for the story!

  18. Mandy says:

    I’m so glad I have finally learned how the envelope stuffing job worked. since I was a teen I was going to do that so I could stay home and NEVER HAVE TO WORK AGAIN, Lol! I was a sucker for that kind of stuff. I lost more than $2 in scams 😦

  19. TanGental says:

    Ah the repetitions of life. My gullibility is still too embarrassing to confess.

  20. It seems like every time I open my inbox I see more scams each day! My kids tell me DO NOT open any of those emails! They even have friend’s names on the emails now although it is not from them!

  21. I remember the envelope stuffing scams. It seemed like easy work that could be done in front of the television. Scams are all over the place these days. Some promise easy riches, others try to scare you to death. People still fall for them.

  22. joey says:

    So interesting! I can remember my mother, my grandmother, and my cousin doing this in our basement. Of course, I never understood (I must have been 3 or 4) what exactly stuffing envelopes was. I’ve even read it referenced in books or movies or something! Now I know! I wonder how well it worked for them, because not apparently rollin in money…two still workin…lol Couldn’t have been too lucrative 😉
    There was a scam at Xmas about sending 6 gifts, etc.
    I tried to explain to my friend about pyramid schemes, but she poo-pooed me. I don’t think she ended up doing it, so that’s nice.

    • I need to write that post that I left for “another day” about a company I invested in that went bankrupt…I was left with inventory and my rubber stamped name and phone # on hundreds of color brochures that I’d distributed. More to come… Thanks, Joey.

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