Did you know that an estimated 300,000 people a year in the UK alone fall victim to working from home scams? The number continues to grow as more and more desperate individuals seeking quick money-making solutions throw cash at scam companies.
For stay-at-home parents, retired senior citizens, students, low income families, unemployed people etc. working from home job offers in the print media or online may appear like the perfect solution to make some extra money. Be very careful because most of these working from home offers are designed to make money from other people.
There are some legitimate jobs out there, but be vigilant when you read about “Working from home jobs”. Most of the time they are fraudulent operations and hidden working from home scams instead.
How do I know if a job is a working from home scam or not? These are the 8 signs to watch out for!
# 1 – They offer you a job for which you don’t need any specific experience.
# 2 – Working from home scams are trying to grab your attention by telling you that you can make lots of money for little effort. They use sentences such as: Make easy money by working from home in your free time, Be your own boss, Make extra money, Free, miracle, scientific breakthrough, secret, guaranteed results, earn $2,000 in your spare time. Bear in mind that scammers appeal to peoples’ desires. They purposely target peoples’ desires, hopes, fears, weaknesses in order to gain from them. The promises made to you (products, services) will not be delivered.
# 3 – They promise you luxury holidays, cars, jewelry and considerable second incomes. Remember: if it is too good to be true, it probably is!!!
# 4 – Words such as “limited offer!”, “act now”, “This introductory offer is valid for five days only!” try to put pressure to act quickly without giving you time to think.
# 5 – Be suspicious when reading testimonials, they can be fake and those people who are mentioned play a part in the whole process of the scam.
# 6 – Be suspicious with any opportunity or offer that asks for your money up front before you even receive anything of value! No legitimate company requires the recipient to pay money in advance. If you come across something similar consider it as fraudulent. The majority of working from home scams will ask you for money up front in exchange for information, special equipment or other materials. Also buying software to get started up in your own work at home career is highly likely to be a fraudulent scam. A legitimate company would give you the software required for free should they want to hire you. This should immediately raise a red flag.
# 7 – If you try to find some contact details of the person or company and all you find is a post box address (but no physical address) or just an email address from a free service, such as Hotmail or Yahoo, or from an ISP such as sbcglobal.com or aol.com. Remember, it’s a red flag, if a company or person can’t buy their own domain name or just mentions a mobile phone but no landline. Remember that no scammer wants to be traced!
# 8 – Frauds are often sold as great opportunities, golden tips. An appeal to secrecy should also be considered with suspicion. The reason behind is that (should you talk to other people about it) they might become aware that it is a scam.
Some of the working from home scams are:
* Addressing and filling envelopes (Think logically: Why would someone pay you lots of money to stuff envelopes when a machine could do the same job at a much more cost-effective rate? What really happens in this case is that you send out advertisements advertising the envelope stuffing company and you earn money when someone responds to your advertisement. You might theoretically stuff 1000 envelopes and not make a single penny ….
* Assembling craft kits (they might ask you to pay for materials upfront, what you might get is inadequate or non-existent).
* Setting up mail-order businesses from home
* Data entry (you might find ads such as “For a small, one time fee of 10 dollars, we will provide you with hundreds of companies hiring data entry clerks right now.” Once you give them your money they will either send you worthless information or nothing at all.
* Forwarding emails to others
* Home-based secretarial work (typing, report and letter writing)
9 Tips to avoid working from home scams:
1.) Don’t send any money up front.
2.) Do not give out any bank or credit card details.
3.) Be aware of premium call rates before making calls.
4.) Do not be taken in by where adverts are placed. (Websites want to make money with ads, nobody checks whether these ads are legitimate operations or fraudulent scams!)
5.) Take time to consider what is being offered.
6.) Seek advice from reputable and professional sources, such as the Better Business Bureau or the Consumer Advice Bureau. If the company is not known, there might be two reasons, either they just started up or they refused to provide any details. Again, a possible scam.
7.) Check out the company for details. Google the company for reviews. Enter also keywords such as “reliable” or “scam” and see what other people are saying about this company or person. You might be shocked at what you might find.
8.) Get in touch with the company and ask lots of questions, such as: What tasks will I do? When and how will I be paid? Who will pay me? You can also ask about a company’s history or contact details in case you encounter any problems while doing the job. If the person can’t provide you with any answers it may not be a legal operation.
9.) You could also approach a lawyer for some advice.
The Checklist: 10 Questions you must ask yourself
– Was the offer unsolicited?
– Does it look too good to be true?
– Can you verify the identity of the email or phone call?
– Do I have to respond “at once” – what’s the rush?
– Do I need to buy something, such as: information material, a software or supply material?
– Do I have to call a premium-rate phone number to find out more?
– Do I have to disclose my credit card or bank details?
– Do I have to send the money to a Post Box number?
– Am I asked to keep it secret?
– Can I REALLY afford to lose the money?
Some legitimate working from home jobs
There are also companies who offer to pay you for participating in online surveys. Again, participate only in those who don’t offer anything to pay upfront. Bear in mind that not always you might be eligible to participate in every survey, since you might not fall into a certain target group that the company is looking for. Sometimes you might earn money, other times you might get vouchers for products.
One more thing: Do you really think that you could make money from home so easily? Why are there still so many frustrated people in the job world? Feeling harassed, having to commute long distances, being underpaid, not appreciated, not satisfied? If this working from home opportunities would be really serious many would work from home, don’t you think so?
The safer option in this case would be to sign up on so called microjobbing sites, such as http://www.Fiverr.com, http://www.Fourerr.com or other freelancing websites, such as http://www.Freelancer.com, http://www.oDesk.com, etc. in which you can offer your skills and really make money in an honest way.
If you have any interesting experiences to share in making money from home in a legitimate job or if you would like to share your negative experiences with working from home scams, my readers would be grateful if you could leave a comment. Thanks.
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Author: Karin Schroeck-Singh
Karin Schroeck-Singh is a trilingual Career Optimizer at www.Careerheads.com. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 20 years of international work experience in various industries in Italy, the UK and India. Her passion lies in creating multilingual, high-quality content in career matters, giving highly engaging public speeches and helping job seekers to optimize their career by providing professional coaching. She is the author of several ebooks, among them “44 Tips for a successful Video Interview” (http://careerheads.com/product/ebook-44-tips-for-a-successful-video-interview/). She has written several career and business articles for international HR and Marketing companies. Her favourite motto is “Learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime!” Follow her on Twitter @CareerHeads.