For many Americans, the rise of technology and high-speed Internet has made a long standing dream become a reality: the ability to work from home.
Working from home is one of the most sought after segments of the workforce. Millions of people envision working from the comfort of their living rooms, home offices, or favorite coffee house. Unfortunately, when it comes to new trends like this, there are always going to be people who try to take advantage of those who want to enter the field. Work from home scams continue to surface over the last few years.
Here’s how you can identify fraud, so you can find real “work from home” jobs that can give you the flexibility and income you desire:
1. Personal Information
Many work from home scammers are just trying to find your personal information so they can either empty your bank account or steal your identity. If the company asks for specific personal information such as full name, social security number, or banking information, you need to be skeptical.
Sure, they may need this information at some point if they’re withholding taxes or need to do direct deposit. But this needs to be done after you have established a working relationship with them. If they are asking for this information up-front as part of the application process, then it may just be a phishing expedition looking to steal your data.
2. Sketchy Applications and Interviews
Another thing to look for is an application and interview process that seems of questionable integrity. For instance, if you are going to apply for a work from home job, you still need to go through a traditional hiring process that includes an application and interview stage.
If the person is willing to hire you just off an email (or worse, a text exchange) then the business is either really desperate for employees or they are not legitimate. If they don’t wish to interview you remotely (through Skype or Facetime) then you should have some red flags go up about the legitimacy of the project you are signing onto.
3. Money Upfront and Other Scams
Businesses that want you to pay them upfront for the prospect of working for them should be your big tip off that the company is not legit. Now, they will never phrase it that directly, but ultimately that’s what they are doing.
If you have to pay the company for “special equipment” or other goods for your job, then you have every right to be skeptical. Another popular scam is that you have to purchase goods or products for the job, but they will provide you with the money upfront. It works like this: They tell you that you have to buy something for your job with them. Let’s say they send you a check for $1000 for a product that costs $200. They tell you to buy the product, deposit the check, and send them the $800 difference. If you do this, chances are the check will bounce as soon as you send them the money. Now you are out $800 (and the associated fees for the bounced check).
4. Do Your Research
A little research goes a long way. For instance, check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they have complaints filed against them. See how many times they post on message boards of job listings. If they are blanketing the sites with postings, they are spammers looking to get information or cash without providing a legitimate job.
Finally, you can also look at the business’s references. A business that is “above board” will provide you with these if you ask. There are also a variety of websites that provide reviews of companies by employees. Glassdoor.com is probably the best known and most popular of these. See what the people who work for the company have to say before you sign up with a business.
Being Careful and Aware Can Result in Gaining Great Jobs with Great Companies
Unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers out there who are willing to make a quick buck off people looking for a flexible job at home. The key to finding a real work at home job is to do a little research and make sure you avoid the pitfalls of fraud.
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