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

Photo (cc) by tang*lee

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.

Got more money questions? Browse lots more Ask Stacy answers here.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Ways to Nail Savings on Your Remodeling Project
10 Ways to Nail Savings on Your Remodeling Project

Here’s how to save on your next remodeling project with discounted materials and more tips and tricks.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

10 Products That Upgrade Your Home for Less Than $45
10 Products That Upgrade Your Home for Less Than $45

Make a fresh start with these affordable Amazon buys.

8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report
8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report

Federal law lets these entities peek at your credit — regardless of whether you’re borrowing money.

These 13 States Tax Social Security Income
These 13 States Tax Social Security Income

Uncle Sam is not the only one looking for a piece of your retirement income. Is your state on this list?

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine
The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

The CDC has unveiled a schedule that likely will determine who gets the next doses.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.