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For many people, looking for good opportunities to work at home and find a more flexible work schedule is just a dream, right? Even if you are doing what you don’t like, working at home lets you balance family and work, achieve the kind of autonomy that can give you peace of mind and help you create your own office vibe.
According to a recent Gallup report, over 43% of the American workforce currently spends more time working remotely. This can be attributed to the technology that has made communication easier hence making employers recognize what workers want; a good work-life balance!
Unfortunately, with the increasing number of telecommute jobs and work at home opportunities, scams are also on the rise. They not only come in many forms but can also rip you off of money and steal personal details.
Some are very blatant and will promise endless riches for a special formula to make money or sell a guide that is actually free. Some opportunities can come across looking like real jobs or unique business ventures that are tempting.
Many of these these opportunities aren’t what people think they are. In some instances, you are charged a fee to acquire a kit or to get hired only to discover later that you’ve been scammed. So how can you identify good opportunities to work at home that aren’t scams?
Signs that Indicate Possible Work at Home Scams
Opportunities where you are asked to pay
The whole idea of looking for work is to get something that can supplement your income and not employers. So, if you get a job that sounds good but they want your money or credit card, run my friend run. In most cases, this is just a scam. Although there are a few exceptions, most of these are scams.
The deal is too good to be true
If something is too good to be true then perhaps it is. No one is going to pay you a lot of money for something that s/he can do alone or use a machine to do. So, forget about any advertisements that promise you six figures for simple tasks such as entering data, stuffing envelopes or assembling kits.
Asking for your personal banking information
If an employer is asking for your personal details such as credit card number, banking information, and other details that will make you vulnerable to theft or worse, then that job is not worth it. Unscrupulous people will use fake adverts to try to get as much information as possible from unsuspecting people- so don’t fall into that trap.
The job does not have any digital footprint
With the current penetration of technology, nearly all companies and employers have a social media presence and website. If you can’t find the employer by Googling, or if the information that you find is less professional then beware.
Communication is clearly off
Although it’s not out of the ordinary to start a conversation with the potential employer through email, in the earlier times of the hiring process, you should have a chance to speak to them via video conferencing or phone. If they insist on only communicating through direct message or email then something may be fishy.
Carefully look at their email and if they are using Yahoo, Gmail or some strange version of the company’s email address you need to proceed with a lot of caution. A good recruiter will try to set up a more personal and verbal link with you as soon as possible if its a true opportunity.
How to Find Opportunities that Are Not Scams
The main rule of avoiding work at home opportunities that are a scam is to follow your instincts. Since your intuition works in ways that you don’t understand, listen to your instincts when you are looking for a work at home job. Before jumping into any job opportunities, make sure you are feeling confident that the potential employer has proven itself beyond doubt to be legit. Here is how to protect yourself from these scams:
Check out the Better Business Bureau
Apart from the Better Business Bureau, you need to read the companies review and check their names on sites such as Glassdoor.com. Check out top rated work at home companies on Glassdoor. Be keen on what people are actually complaining about and keep gathering more information while looking for the specifics.
Don’t stop at the company, also look at the recruiter information. Legitimate companies have nothing to hide and will be very straightforward with their contact information and identity. Make sure you verify everything by carrying out your own research.
Consider on demand opportunities to work at home
If you are looking for a little extra work that you can do on the side for money then you need to look for some on demand side gigs. These include opportunities like Postmates, Uber, Door Dash, Tutoring Online jobs, Task Rabbit, or other service type of work.
Legit companies that offer part time on demand work is a great way to supplement your current income or add some savings. There are a number of opportunities to work from home for extra cash that can help you bring in extra income that have been tried and tested.
Make sure the job description is legit
Sometimes just by looking at the description, you will know that the job is not what it seems to be. For legitimate jobs, descriptions always include the required experience. It should also list the responsibilities that will help you understand whether you are qualified or not.
If the description only has a few bullet points, or looks like getting the job will be very quick and easy then its possible it won’t be legit. If they don’t care about your qualification then the job may not be a real opportunity. Real employers are always looking for highly qualified people.
Ask as many questions as you can
If you are invited for an in-person interview, and you are still not sure whether the job is legitimate or not, be sure to ask as many questions as you can. You will want to feel confident about taking the offer and working there.
Learn about the companies details like history and culture. Anything that may not be clear to you, just ask. Do they offer health benefits, 401k, what is there stance on breaks and time off? Ask them the things that you think are not clear. Find out how the company makes money and how you’ll be earning your pay. If these don’t bring a clear picture to you then something might be seriously wrong.
Be a freelancer
If you are a talented graphic designer, writer or tutor, consider offering your services as a freelancer on the many legit freelancing sites out there. You can try places such as Upwork.com or Freelancer.com with positive reviews and a long history. Instead of dealing with companies or individuals direct, you can use these sites and ask them to pay you through them and ensure you get paid for the work you did.
Check out these work from home writing jobs for freelancers and find something legit and awesome. Home based Transcriber jobs offer good money as well if you are a fast typer and enjoy this type of work. Avoid the scams and be your own boss be becoming a freelancer.
Never give out any money
During the interview don’t forget to ask about the kind of training that they will give you. If you will be paying for your own training then the job is perhaps a scam. Any job that needs you to pay some fee should be a red flag. Honest employers usually train people on their on cost hence don’t pay anything. You don’t have to cater for your own training or pay any other fee such as processing or application fee.
The ONLY time I would say it could be legit is if a company requires you to have a certification or specialized training before you are hired. The money for these certificates would be for you to use for any job within that type of position. I would not pay the employer for the certificate- it would go to a legitimate school or training facility.
How to Report a Work-at-Home Scam
If you have been scammed out of money by a fake company or work at home opportunity you will want to report it immediately. But not only to the local police but other places online so that they don’t trick others. If you feel your personal identity has been compromised by a scammer you need to go a step further and alert your banks and credit associations to protect yourself.
You can file a complaint online at the Federal Trade Commission here or call 1-877-FTC-HELP. The Federal Trade Commission may start a potential investigation bringing the scammer to justice. You can also try the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). They will want to hear your story, and the more they can track and compile, they better for everyone.
I would also leave a review or comment on the Better Business Bureau or BBB. You can find the online form here. These will alert others to the potential fraud or negative experience you have endured.
With a little research and common sense, you can easily find opportunities to work at home that fit your needs and lifestyle. Overall, some of the best ways to protect yourself from scammers are to trust your gut and keep your search contained in legitimate sites. These sites ensure that they vet all the leads for legitimacy making sure you can submit your application in confidence. Also, if you discover a work at home scam, make sure you report it so as to protect other people from being scammed