If you’re new to working from home or have spent even a little bit of time trying to locate a home-based position, you may already be aware that there are a TON of scams out there. Before you fall prey to any such fraud, I’ve put together a list of red flags to watch out for when you’re trying to find legitimate WFH work.
To be clear, work from home scams have been around for years; it’s just that now they seem to be more prevalent because of the internet and the ease of communication it presents. So, how do you tell a legitimate opportunity from a scam?
Here are some ways to tell if a business opportunity is real, or simply too good to be true.
You can’t get a hold of anyone (real)
A legitimate business will have a real website with a business-like email address, not a Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail address. You shouldn’t have any problems looking up information about the business and the people who work there.
Promises of Overnight Riches
Any plan that claims you’ll be rich overnight is a scam. It’s just not going to happen. Working from home at a job, or running your own business requires skill, work, and more work to make money. You’re not going to set a business up and do nothing and get paid. Nuh-huh. No way.
Related Post: Top 11 Home Business Ideas for Moms
They Ask You to Pay Upfront (and pronto)
Some jobs or opportunities claim you have to pay something before they can consider you. Please take the time to research ALL job opportunities even those proposed by friends, as, ultimately, you’ll have to pay for any mistakes yourself. To be safe, never pay for work yourself; a client should be paying you, not the other way round.
Investing in a business opportunity (like a partnership) is considered normal. For example, many MLMs (Multi-Level Marketing) opportunities do ask for money up front, as a business investment. Even if you’re not a fan of MLMs, some of them are legitimate companies with real opportunity.
You Feel Pressured to Act NOW
If your potential client or employer tells you that you must “act right now or lose out forever,” it’s a scam. A real opportunity will still be there tomorrow, not gone in 60 seconds.
Be Wary of Western Union Payments
I hate to name this one because I love Western Union. I use it to send money to family and friends all the time. However, if you need to use Western Union to send money to anyone else …
Any time someone you don’t know asks you to send money using a banking institution, you should be wary. Not only is it a scam, but you also risk jail time if you’re caught up in anything illegal.
It Sounds Too Good to Be True
You have a hunch that it’s just too good to be true, but you’re sooooooo tempted. Listen to that inner voice and take some time to research the company itself, not only the people and places you’re asked to research. Walk away (with a quickness) if you can’t prove they’re legitimate.
Random Email Offering You Work You Didn’t Apply For Directly
I get this sometimes on the LinkedIn platform. Communication comes in offering you a “unique” opportunity but when you click on the message, it either goes away or you get another message telling you about a job that you know can’t be real ($500 a week for 5 hours of admin work). Really? I’ve learned to delete any message that begins with “Impressive background! You’ve been selected for an opportunity …” Sketchy, sketchy.
This could also happen when you apply for or fill out an application for a real job online. The scammers get the information online, and then they send you unsolicited job or consultation offers for a fee. It’s no different from a phone call during dinner, making you promises.
Outlandish Pay for Low Wage Position Titles
Like the note above, these offers are another common sign of a scam. You’ll see an offer on a seemingly legitimate website promising a lot of money for many different positions that do not earn that kind of wage. I know it’s tempting, and you may be so ready to start making money, but you have to be realistic here; you’re not going to make $60 an hour as a receptionist. You don’t want to end up getting conned out of hundreds of dollars you can ill afford to lose.
Trust Your Intuition
More than anything, pay attention to your gut feelings, and if an opportunity seems sketchy, it probably is. What’s even worse in these situations is that some scammers only want you to fill out their applications so they can steal your identity, so please be careful of what you put on your resume/CV. Is it necessary to have your address and personal phone number on your resume/CV? Not really. When a client or employer is interested, they’ll typically contact you by email or a business number if you have one.
If you live in the US, you can get a free employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS so that you don’t give out your social security number. Other countries will likely have similar ways to protect your identity.
It doesn’t take much for people to find you these days. Don’t make it easy for scammers.
Looking for a legitimate way to make money from home? Learn how you can become a virtual assistant right here.