Ask Stacy: Why Are You Endorsing a Work-at-Home Business?

What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

This reader saw me in an ad endorsing a work-at-home business. Should I be flattered – or mad as hell?

I recently got this following email from a viewer. While the situation it describes is relatively rare, the type of rip-off it describes isn’t.

First of all I would like to say I enjoy and appreciate the advice from this website.

I received an email about a home business that got an (indirect) endorsement from Stacy Johnson from Money Talks. It’s called [redacted] Top Home Profit System. I guess I just wanted to hear it again if you endorse this product. I’m sure you know home based businesses are a dime a dozen and I have nothing to base its credibility on except your endorsements and a few legitimate looking testimonials. Hey, thanks if you can respond to my question.
– Kassandra

Journalist or pitchman?

Here’s your answer, Kassandra: I don’t endorse this or any other for-profit product or service.  Ever. Any journalist who receives money in exchange for a favorable “opinion” of anything is by definition no longer a journalist.  So while you may occasionally see me recommending things like nonprofit credit counseling agencies, you’ll never see me in any kind of commercial, shilling for anyone, or otherwise exchanging my credibility for cash.  Unfortunately, however, you might encounter what this reader did: someone stealing my identity.

While I can’t find the specific ad this reader is asking about – I asked her for a link to it and never heard back – if it’s actually me she saw in the ad, it’s likely that some sleazy scum stole my video from a site like YouTube and placed it in their ad in an attempt to gain credibility. It’s a technique that’s been used before.

In April 2011, the FTC put out this Consumer Alert regarding fake news sites used to promote weight-loss products. From that alert…

A typical site displays the logo of a legitimate major television network, newspaper, or magazine, followed by a “reporter’s” first-hand experience using the product. The reporter may claim a dramatic weight loss over several weeks, with no change in diet or exercise routine. Throughout the fake news site are links to other websites where consumers can buy the reviewed weight loss products or sign up for a “free” trial. Testimonials or comments from supposedly satisfied customers also may be posted on the site.

Don’t let this happen to you

One way to avoid falling into sophisticated online traps designed to separate you from your money is to do what Kassandra did: Send me an email asking if I was really endorsing this product.  A simpler way, however, would be what I’ve suggested many times before: Simply put the product you’re looking at, along with the word “scam” or “ripoff,” into your favorite search engine. In the case of the product she’s asking about, the search results left little doubt this “Profit System” wasn’t on the up-and-up.

Don’t let this happen to me

While it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever be able to catch up with the con artists who attempt using me to hurt you, I’d like to try. If you ever see me associated with some sleazy product, please let me know and send me a link to the offending Web page. To the best of my ability, I’ll make them wish they’d chosen someone else’s image to steal.

Legitimate work-from-home opportunities

Other than help with debt issues, finding legitimate work from home is easily the most popular subject of reader questions and emails. So I’ll take this opportunity to hook you up with some past posts that help you find your way through the minefield of rip-offs.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: 8 Great Travel Freebies You Can Get in 2017

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,019 more deals!