Tip submitted by Alaina Forbes from Telecommuting Mommies:
To make a little extra change you can become a mail decoy. Mail Decoys are used to track how long it takes for mail to be delivered along with the shape it is in when it arrives.
It depends on how many mail decoys there are in your area already, how quickly you will hear back from them so you may be able to make some money before Christmas if they contacted you right away. As a mail decoy you receive mail delivered to you other than your own mail.
Usually they are catalogs but they will be marked in a way that you will be able to tell them apart from your regular mail. Each day, you stamp the mail with the date and then enter a code from the piece of mail on to their website.
You store the mail in a file box for six months before discarding and in rare cases they may ask you to send in a piece that you received. If this is the case you will be reimbursed for the cost of mailing those items.
The pay is 25 cents per piece of mail, which is not much but it only takes a few minutes of your time each day.
You can enter your zipcode on the Hausernet website to see if they need someone in your area right away or just apply and they’ll notify you if they have openings in your area. SBKC is a similar type of mail decoy company, but instead of paying you in cash, you earn points that you can redeem for gift cards.
Alaina shares her twelve years of work from home experience at her blog Telecommuting Mommies. She also opens up her personal life as a homeschooling, blogging, work at home Mom of four at The Maestro Mom. Follow her on Twitter at TelecommuterMom.
photo from BigStockPhoto
Christine Shook says
I cannot strongly urge you enough to AVOID this company AT ALL COSTS. Unless you want to work for free. I have begun investigating the company and have found more complaints than I could have ever imagined. Currently, they owe me more than $1000 and my accountant has been going back over all the records since I started nearly 5 years ago. Once I brought it to their attention that I was no longer receiving payments, they gave me a check, and when I complained again the following month, I received a small random $50 payment. It appears they have taken down their social media connections but I am still researching. At this point it is clear they do not intend to pay and I am gathering details to file a lawsuit for work completed. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE update this thread and consider that this recommendation is an error to save your readers!! Research Ripoff Report under their name.
I have decided after 9 years to stop entering mail for Hauser
I signed up to be paid .25 per entry and my understanding once entries reached $10 I would be paid (HA!) 40 entries = $10
Some days I received and entered 25-35 pieces (mostly envelopes no magazines)
I’ve entered 1000’s of mail pieces
I’ve received a couple checks for $30 to $50 in the beginning about 2-3 times per year . I continued entering mail in hopes they would pay me and felt if I quit they would never pay me I am owed $100’s
About 2 years ago they began paying me thru PayPal in very small amounts always under $3 dated for entries over 2 years prior I’d been busy and realized I had not been paid in a long time Although I am receiving and entering less mail 10-20 pieces per month I am not being paid
I sent emails to Hauser No Reply No Suprise ! Yesterday I received a mail piece from Ballard Designs A BRDBOX I am wondering if maybe we should contact the companies we get mail pieces from and let them know Hauser is not paying us ???? Family Christian, Arbor Day Foundation, Legendary White Tails and others
I checked my zip code and they need decoys in my area but after reading all the reviews and talking to my husband, weighing the time verses POSSIBLE payment rate, I’ve decided against it. Too bad they don’t have better reviews from those who have worked for them. I’m a stay at home mom and we are a single income family. I know it wouldn’t be a ton of money but my time is precious (I home school 5 children and have 2 additional little ones that aren’t in school yet) and people really do deserve to get paid for their time, even if it isn’t much money.
Caryn Crowston says
DON”T BOTHER!! I used to work for the Hausernet outfit and they are notorious for LATE payment. They were 1 year behind on my payments and I was calling and emailing them and they just kept saying they were having some financial situations and the check would be mailed. I still haven’t gotten the check 5 years later. Of course, I quit them 5 years ago. I am just saying BEWARE!!
Lori :) says
This sounded really interesting and easy – so I looked to see if they needed someone in my area. But then when I started to research reviews about it – all i can find is a lot of complaints about non-payment, having to beg to be paid, etc, etc.
I definitely don’t need more headaches in life.
I saw Dave’s post below – but not sure I believe it all as others who are still working for them are still having payment issues.
If anyone has something good to say about it – let me know. I’d love to earn a little extra cash.
Wrong post, sorry!
I love to shop. I could do it for hours. However, I’m not really a thrift store type of person and I hate spending a lot of money. See my problem? What I find works really well for my family, in regards to clothes shopping, is to buy at the end of the season. If you wait until the end of winter/beginning of spring to buy your winter coats, hats, clothes, etc. you can save a ton of money. Companies typically have these items marked anywhere from 50%-80% off. Add in a coupon and you could save even more! I do this with every season and am able to get brand new, quality clothing for 1/4 of the price!
“You can enter your zipcode on the Hausernet website to see if they need someone in your area right away or just apply and they’ll notify you if they have openings in your area.”
I searched everywhere on the site and could not find anyplace to enter my zip code “to see if they need someone…right away”….???
Angela L. says
I signed up with Hausernet several months ago, and received my first piece of mail last week. It’s the only one I’ve gotten yet. I’m hoping it picks up soon!
I have a weird question, but what is the purpose of a mail decoy? I like to know why I do jobs and I don’t quite understand this one.
I believe companies sign up with them to test the timeliness and quality of mail deliveries in certain areas. For example, they want to know that if they send a customer mailing out for a sale starting next week that people will receive it in time. If only 50% of the decoys receive the mail by Monday, and the rest trickle in through the rest of the week, maybe they need to send earlier. Things like that.
Maryalene, Social Media Angel for SavingsAngel says
I was a Hauser decoy for years. It’s my understanding companies use mail decoys to double-check the work of third party printing and mailing services. They want to be sure their items are being mailed on time and that they are arriving in good condition.
Anon for this says
I’ve been a decoy for years for Hauser. I have to beg, hound and e-mail Hauser for a check and am lucky if I get 2 each year and know they have shorted me money I earned each time. I’m still waiting for a check I was told via e-mail would be sent in late September. Yeah, sure. It’s a nice way to get free magazines, but you don’t get to request that, they just show up one day and no control over which titles.
Honestly, I can’t recommend them at all.
I had the same experience with Hauser. I would expect a payment, then send an email every 2-3 weeks asking where it was. Each time I would get an email back with a different excuse – things like “we’re going to pay you as soon as our next round of funding comes through.” I finally had enough and asked to be removed from their list. That was two years ago, and I STILL receive decoy mail. It bothers me that the companies I’m receiving mail from are likely paying for the service but not receiving it, and that it’s essentially harassment for me to continually receive these items that I am not requesting. At most you would make $25 every 3 months – not worth the trouble.
Dave Hauser says
Hello This is Dave Hauser, I was stunned to see the deluge of requests for decoys all over the US, we do need more people as our clients want more and more addresses.
To answer some concerns, we don’t need the SS# right away any more as we will process the application without it, if you make over $680 for the year we will ask you for it as we will have to file a return on it.
Our payment problems are behind us, we are also updating our Dun & Bradstreet/BBB status as we did not reply to the 1-2 complaints. We have over 5000 decoys so there are always going to be complaints and if you weigh it against all the complaints over many years, it is very minute.
There are areas where the volume could grow right away:
North Dakota/Wyoming/South Dakota/Montana/Idaho
and many more……….
All decoys are given a fair chance with tests we do, and from the tests you can start to build volume.
Thank you for taking the time to comment!
After I filled out my name and address info, I get sent to a page that says I must write my SS# or tax ID and sign the form, then send in or fax to Hauser.
You said you don’t need the SS# right away. Will my information be processed with what I filled out online or do I really need to mail in or fax to y’all my information?
Thanks for weighing in here. You’ll be getting an application in the mail from ND shortly!
Brandi @ Savvy Student Shopper says
Thanks! I’ve never heard of this!
Sarah @ Family. Food. Fiesta. says
I never thought of this. Great tips! Keep it moving along!
I’m not sure why my post was deleted but Hausernet/Hauser Group has a grade F BBB review. It’s not right if that is deleted.
Nevermind :-p apparently my browser didn’t show it.
I did see that rating but there are only two complaints. I think it is because they did not respond to the complaints probably. I know some people have complained about their payments being delayed but everyone I know that has done this for them has been paid.
I’ve worked for them for a few years now, and I have always gotten paid….after I send 2-3 emails asking when I can expect payment! It’s that way every time. Totally frustrating, but it’s easy work, so I just keep doing it.
Do you mind if I ask about how much you make, on average? Thanks!
I think it depends on your location. I’m not in a big city so I don’t get that much mail – some days nothing, other days there might be 5 pieces of mail to record. In bigger areas there might be more volume, but for me my checks have been usually $25-$50.
They pay for 3 months at a time, and it’s delayed by a month…or more, if you don’t contact them (at least in my experience). You have to earn at least $10 for them to pay out, and the volume at the beginning is lower, so at first I didn’t make that in 3 months, but then got the check for 6 months of mail.
Traci Michele says
Sounds Interesting. Would you do it?
I’d love to do this just to annoy my mail carrier. Is that bad or what? LOL She has such an attitude problem – one day when I got a box of cheerios samples, the rest of the mail was mangled and shoved into my mailbox.
And seriously…it sounds fun to do to make a little extra cash. I checked on the one site but they don’t need anyone for my area. Guess my mail carrier is safe for now. 😉
You don’t live in Greenville, SC, do you?
That was only two complaints in 3 years. Not too bad actually!
I applied and it told me I had to print out a form, sign it, and either provide my social security number or a tax ID number. That felt a little shady to me, so I decided not to participate.
Frugal Jen | Frugal Freebies and Deals says
It’s not necessarily shady.. it’s just something they are required to do when they will be paying you.
But I do understand not feeling comfortable with it..
Kathy Stuit says
Thanks for sharing this. Never heard of this program, signed up for both!
I worked for Hauser a couple of years ago. They never paid me! I was emailing Dave Hauser there and he was promising to pay me and never did.
That was my experience with them. I do know others were paid but I was not.
They want me to send them my social security number. That is a big red flag for me. No thanks.
Any company that is going to pay you, even if they are not taking taxes out, had to have your SS#. I did this mail decoy for Hauser for a couple of years, they are legit.
This is a job and you have to report the income on your taxes. You can’t be employed with a social security number (or proper documentation if you’re not a US citizen).
You could probably get a TIN (tax identification number) instead.
It takes about one minute to do online.
Dee Wolters says
I have worked as a mail monitor, as it is called by the company I work for, for sever years. It is very easy, although a little different than the author described. I recieve the mail, enter name, etc into web site. Some pieces are returned and others are kept by me for a month, then discarded. I receive $25/month, +.25 piece. It is about $50/ month. I do report this as income, (1099B) but I love the extra $. Plus my mailbox is never empty. Super easy $$.
Kim N says
What is the name of the company you work for?
Julie B. says
I’d be interested in knowing the company you work for, if you don’t mind. If you’d rather not post it then you can email me at eriknjulie @ gmail dot com. If you’d rather not share at all then I understand.
Dee Wolters says
The mail decoy company I work for is US Monitor. Their site is down right now as they are located in New York, but later next week you can search for their site and look for the agent sign up area. You submit a form and they let you know if they need folks in your area. You do have to submit your SS#, as they issue 1099B forms each year, the income is taxable.
The Hausernet website seems to be down and says they’re not accepting new people at this time. Seems like a neat idea, though!
Nichole L says
they do have openings for my area but I am hesitant as it state you must record the mail the same day received and it is unacceptable to do it the next day. We are leaving on vacation for 15 days in December. There is no mention of what to do when you go on vacation, does anybody know?
Thanks! I just signed up!