How to Spot a Work-at-Home Scam
I am constantly seeing work at home scams on the internet, in newspapers, and posted on telephone poles. I am just as sick of it as the next person. The unfortunate thing is that people still fall for these every single day! I have already pointed out (on this site) some various scams that I see often in order to warn you about them. Not all scams involve working from home, but all scams need to be avoided, nonetheless. Please read this article carefully and then read it again. It can save you quite a bit of time in the long run. Please take a look at this page about Financial Procurement, Inc where I outline how I researched a "company" with a "work at home job."
First, be wary of any job offer that asks for personal information that they shouldn't really need, such as your marital status, how many children you have, credit card information, passwords etc. You will only need to give your banking information if you have been hired and you are 200% sure that the company is legitimate. They do not need your banking information to decide whether or not they will hire you. Many work at home jobs will pay via PayPal, which is fine. For this, you will need to provide your PayPal e-mail address. However, do not give them your PayPal password! Nobody but you ever needs that information. If an 'employer' asks you for your PayPal password or any other password that is a huge red flag!
Checking the domain registration can be a big help. For example, if the company website states they have been in business for 20 years, but the domain registration dates a few months ago, something is definitely suspicious. You can go to DomainSearch.com to check domain registration. Some people recommend that you double check the contact information on the website to the domain registration, although I don't do that. Some people (such as myself) will pay extra money to have the domain registration contact information (address, phone number) appear anonymous. I personally don't want anybody knowing my address or home telephone number since I do work out of my home.
Stay away if they ask for any type of registration fee, or money for 'training materials'. You do not have to pay $20 to go down to your local grocery store and be a checker, do you? It seems like the smaller the 'fee' the more likely people are going to fall for it. They think 'Oh, well, but it is only $5'. ($10, etc.) Please, just don't do it! You don't want a dishonest person laughing all the way to the bank with your hard earned money, right? Remember, on the internet, not everybody is who they say they are!
There are many common places (other than the internet) that you may see an ad for a 'work at home job' that is actually a scam. I have seen them in newspapers, in the back of magazines, on telephone poles, and signs on the side of the road! They are absolutely everywhere, so think logically on this. For example, does your local grocery store advertise on telephone poles when they have a job opening? No, of course they don't.
One of the biggest red flags for me is a huge website telling you all about how much money you could be making, the cars you could be driving, the mansion you could be living in, and the vacations you could be taking! You sit at your computer getting more and more excited with every passing minute. Dollar signs are flashing in front of your eyes! It is almost too much to stand, they say you can make $1000 a day for hardly doing anything! If only they would tell you WHAT the job is all about, right? The number one thing a real company who wants to hire a new employee will do is list the job position. Then, they will describe what it entails and what their requirements are. Finally, they *might* tell you what the modest, normal salary will be. Sometimes that information is not right on the job listing. I am not going to be making millions sitting in my chair doing nothing and unfortunately, neither will you.
When I receive scam job offers in my e-mail inbox (usually originating from another country and involving sending money via western union), I find that the spelling and use of the English language are horrible. Misspelled word, grammatical errors, and sentences that just don't make sense are a dime a dozen in these e-mails and advertisements.
Finally, please keep a look out for the webhost and e-mail that the company is using. If they are not legitimate, chances are that they might be using a free webhost, such as geocities, bravenet, etc. Paying to have your own website and domain name is not that expensive. Hey, I pay for my own and I have not gone broke yet! In my opinion, the reason that schemers use these free services is because they are doing something that is likely illegal. If they have to purchase something in order to perform these activities, then a paper trail will have been established. That would make it much easier for authorities to catch them when someone reports them. Also, be very careful if they are using a free e-mail provider such as yahoo or hotmail for the same reasons.
I cannot stress enough how careful we need to be when looking for a work at home job. Please don't take anybody at their word. Do your research, and then do it again before you accept any job. Remember the key points to look for:
1. Do they ask for personal information?
2. Check domain registration.
3. Do they ask for money?
4. Where did you find the ad for the job?
5. Do they actually state what the job will entail?
6. Do they promise you riches for a small amount of work?
7. Do they have poor spelling and grammar?
8. Are they using a free webhosting/e-mail provider?
Not all of these key points will apply to every single scam out there, but this will help you identify some that you need to stay away from! Be careful out there. It is better to make no money than to lose some.
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