Although some of the huge numbers of work at home opportunities advertised via online ads or bulk email campaigns may be genuine and worthwhile, the vast majority are at best misleading and at worst outright criminal scams.
If you find one that does not contain an assortment of the warning signs listed here it may be worth pursuing a bit further.
Warning signs of work at home job scams:
- Out of the blue job offers often made to sound like a personal referral or as if you have previously contacted them or already applied for the job.
- Too good to be true, get rich quick promises: ‘retire in 12 months!’, ‘live mortgage free!’, ‘earn 50k a month working 1 day a week from home!’ Invariably these are trying to get you to buy into some kind of business start-up pack or multi-level marketing scheme. Some of them may suit some people, so it might just be worth a look, but view their claims with a skeptical eye, and remember there are no guarantees. You’ll be risking the loss of whatever cash and time you put into it.
- Suspiciously high pay levels – does it sound plausible that they would need to advertise such an amazing job offer to all takers?
- A need for up front outlay. If you need to pay anything up front to ‘find out more’, or for ‘background checks’, or to receive training manuals, or for equipment to set yourself up, be mighty suspicious.
- Unnecessary requests for personal information or bank details before you can find out more. Think identity fraud.
- Unprofessional feel – overhyped marketing type language, lots of shouty, upper case text.
- Cageyness about what the work is or a vague sounding job title like ‘customer service’ or ‘data entry’.
- Cageyness about the company name.
- No company website mentioned, or a website that doesn’t display or bear any relation to the job on offer.
- The ad or their website includes lots of criticism of scam opportunities and constantly reassures you that their offer is absolutely not a scam.
- Use of free ads sites like Craigslist or small ads on Google, Facebook etc. If you were advertising a proper job would you do it that way? They’re obviously looking to get as many replies and sign-ups as possible rather than targeting particular types of workers – which suggests some kind of scam.
- Beware jobs that involve ‘stuffing envelopes’ or assembling goods out of components – you’ll almost certainly find you have to buy the components yourself up front.
- And beware offers which require you to purchase some kind of ‘business start-up’ kit which will supposedly lead to the fast and simple creation of a highly successful business.
- Be extremely wary of all forms of ‘Multi-level marketing’ (MLM) or pyramid selling type schemes. They are rarely successful and frequently involve you purchasing large quantities of the product yourself.
If the initial information doesn’t tick an alarming enough number of these to put you off then the next step is to do some more detailed research about the company and what they are offering.