How to Spot Potential Scams When You Work from Home

Posted on June 4, 2017 in
How to Spot Potential Scams when You Work From Home

One of the questions people most frequently ask me about work is, “How?”

I am not the best person to ask about working from home, to be honest. I hate when people describe my job as “working on the Internet.” I’m a writer. When people look for “work from home jobs,” they may be looking for a wide variety of jobs ranging from secret shoppers to virtual assistants. I don’t really have experience in these areas.

Still, I do have a lot of advice to offer people who are interested in working from home, not necessarily as writers. Here is a lot of what I have to say on the matter:

1. If you found it in the comments section, it’s probably a scam.

This one should be pretty obvious. If somebody is posting about an amazing job they found in the comments section of a Buzzfeed article, said job does not really exist. Don’t click the links or engage with this person.

2. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Nobody is going to pay you to simply the travel around the world for free. Nobody is going to pay you thousands to watch TV on your couch all day. Try to use some sense when you read advertisements for these jobs. If you can’t figure out why somebody would pay you to do the job, it’s likely not legit. Also, if somebody offers you a job you never asked for, it is likely a scam. Unsolicited offers are rarely real.

3. If you are asked for money upfront, you should be suspicious.

Sure, you might need to buy supplies to start a new job. You might even be asked to pay for some training or a course. Still, you should never be asked to send a bunch of money to be eligible for an opportunity.

4. If you are asked to buy gift cards, it’s a scam.

A legitimate job is never going to ask you to spend your cash (or cash they send you) to buy gift cards and send them back. This is a scam.

5. If somebody sends you a check before you’ve done anything, it’s probably a scam.

This is one of the oldest Internet scams, and yet people still fall for it. Nobody is going to send you checks to cash and send the money on to somebody else. It doesn’t happen. Instead, your bank will temporarily make funds available while you pull out money to send. When the bank realizes you’ve been given fake checks, you will still owe that money to the bank. Sometimes the scam is disguised as part of a job, but you still need to be aware that it’s not legit. Nobody is going to pay you just to cash checks.

6. If you are instantly hired, there is a problem.

Any real job requires a process during which you and your work or skills will be assessed to determine if you will be a good employee. A scammer who has no need to know your abilities as an employee doesn’t care. Think about this: why would somebody hire you on the spot without knowing a thing about you, except perhaps your name or email address? If you haven’t proven to be a good writer, why would a company trust that you are? If you have no experience as a salesperson, why would a stranger decide that you are the person to do the job.

7. Scam listings and emails are frequently written with poor spelling and grammar.

Spam emails are often written by those who do not speak English as a first language, which means you may notice misuse of certain words and poor spelling.

8. Steer clear of MLM schemes.

Every day on Facebook I see friends and friends of friends post about their new “business opportunities.” Unfortunately, these opportunities are often just multi-level marketing situations that are essentially pyramid schemes. I’ve really been enjoying this person’s story about Younique and the true cost of joining one of these schemes.

So, let’s say that you’ve found a potential opportunity to work from home. What should you do next?

Google the name of the company with the word ‘scam.’

For the love of all that is good, do not send money to strangers.

Don’t open or respond to suspicious emails.

Ultimately, keep in mind that if you are looking to work online, it’s going to be work. You aren’t going to be paid good money to do nothing, and that’s really something you should know already.

Photo via Fancy Crave

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