Business Practices: How to Avoid a Work-At-Home Scam

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Finding a legitimate work-from-home job is very rewarding in many ways, but the road to finding that job may not be as smooth.

Tips for Avoiding a Work-At-Home Scam

Conducting a job search online can be very intimidating. Craigslist alone has so many telecommuting jobs it can be overwhelming to sift through. There are a wide variety of legitimate jobs online but there are also many dishonest people hoping to scam those searching for a job. There are a few things to consider when sorting through these online ads:

  • Shy Away From Unprofessional Ads — Companies uninterested in seeing a resume or past work experience are often a scam.
  • Avoid Vague Descriptions — Ads that offer a nonexistent or very vague job description are often a sign that there is no real job. Look for accounts jobs at reputable recruitment websites only.
  • Avoid Spammy Ads — Job ads that sound like they are selling the job to you are a bad sign. A real job is going to want you to sell yourself to them with your resume and experience, not the other way around.
  • Be Mindful of Ads — Watch for ads that say something like "MAKE $2000 a week working part-time!!!" Sorry, but if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
  • Consider Warning Signs — Consider it a warning sign when companies ask for money. If, however,  the company starts asking for money before they have even conducted an interview, run and don't look back. The only costs that some legitimate work-at-home companies will require you to pay is to cover the cost for the background check. Companies that hire you as an independent contractor can pass these types of costs on but they should be very minimal and only paid after researching the company. If the ad is for a work-from-home business opportunity rather than a job, then upfront costs are to be expected as with starting any business. Work-from-home businesses are a great option, just know what to expect and research the company before making a decision.
  • Review The Ad — Check the ad for the name of the company or the website that is hiring and do your research. Beware of ads that do not state the company name or a website and only offer a 1-800 number to call. If the company’s name is given, search and to find prior complaints. Also check a few work-at-home forums to get feedback from people who can vouch for the company or warn you off them.
  • Discuss Pay — Before accepting a position be clear on the pay. Most legitimate work-from-home companies pay by the task, by the hour, or by the minute for some phone-based jobs. On these types of jobs, be clear if you are paid only while on a call. This does not mean it is not a legitimate company but it does help give a clear picture of how much you can expect to make.
  • Use Reputable Websites — Other websites to use as resources for detecting a work-from-home scam include FTC, and the BBB.

 How have you found a job in the past? What are tools that made it easier for you?

Photo courtesy of flickr.

Alaina shares her fifteen years of work from home experience at her blog Telecommuting Mommies. She also opens up her personal life as a homeschooling, blogging, work at home Mom of four at The Maestro Mom. Follow her on Twitter at TelecommuterMom.




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Alaina Forbes


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