7 expert tips to avoid work-from-home scams
There are countless opportunities to work from home these days, but shuffling through what’s legitimate and what’s not can be a daunting task. Industry experts estimate the ratio of real to fake opportunities at 50-60 to 1 . We asked our experienced recruiters for advice to help you decide what’s too good to be true and what’s too good to pass up.
Avoid work-from-home scams with these tips:
- People who contact you with offers that you did not apply for or inquire about. In this type of scam a person may claim to be from a legitimate company, but may direct you to a fake website, application, or interview process where they attempt to collect personal information.
Protect yourself: Be wary of emails from companies that you did not give your email address to. If an email seems suspicious, search for the company online and go directly to their website instead of clicking on links in the email, and never send sensitive information such as your social security number or credit card information via email or online chat.
- Companies that use free tools such as Gmail, Yahoo mail, and instant messages services for interviews or that do not have a professional looking company website or verifiable street address. Free communication tools can make it easy for an unscrupulous person to create a fake company or to impersonate a real one.
Protect yourself: If you can’t verify that a company is legitimate, it may be best to look elsewhere.
- Offers that promise a lot of money with very little effort. Legitimate work-from-home opportunities will typically take some effort on your part to be successful.
Protect Yourself: Make sure you understand what you will be doing to earn money, how you will be paid, and the skills you need to succeed. Keep this old adage in mind when evaluating work from home opportunities: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
- Upfront Investments. Offers that require you to purchase how to guides, mailing lists, start-up kits, etc. may be more about selling those items than helping you make money. Independent contractors are typically responsible for their own expenses, equipment needed to work, and background check fees, but be wary if the company requires you to purchase things directly from them.
Protect yourself: Before spending money on an opportunity, check the company out. Do they have a legitimate website? Are they in good standing with the Better Business Bureau? Do you know someone who has been successful with this business?
- Companies that send you a check to purchase office equipment or ask you to do any type of money transfer. This may seem like a way to avoid making an upfront investment, but it could be a scam. The check may bounce after you have already spent the money or made a transfer.
Protect yourself: Most companies that are providing you with office equipment will either send you the equipment itself or provide you with details about their expense reimbursement policy.
- Companies that don’t ask about your education or experience. Legitimate work-from-home opportunities get a lot of interest from job seekers and recruiters need information about applicants to find people who are a the best fit.
Protect yourself: If you’re getting a great offer without providing any information on why you are a good fit for the company, it may be too good to be true.
- No one has heard of the company. You may not know every company in your industry, but thanks to the internet, you should be able to learn about companies easily online.
Protect yourself: If you have never heard of the company, do some research and check to see if the organization is listed with the Better Business Bureau or is easily found in a Google search.
Most important: trust yourself and your instincts when trying to avoid work-from-home scams. If something seems suspicious, do your due diligence and you’ll know if a company/job is worth looking into.
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