Last Updated September 13th, 2018

How Much Independence Do You Give Your Kids During The School Year?

How Much Independence Do You Give Your Kids During The School Year?

Now that school’s in session, I get a little more time to work at home without kids underfoot. My kids are now at ages where I don’t have to supervise them all of the time. They’re better off doing a lot of things independently after school. The challenge, at times, can be deciding how much independence to give the kids during the school year.

Kids need to learn to do things independently of their parents. It’s hard to let go sometimes, but so necessary for your child’s development. When, how, all that depends on your child and your family’s situation – I’m not going to tell you when your kids are old enough to walk home from school or whatever else. You know your kids and your situation, so you get to decide. But there are plenty of other places to encourage your child to be more independent, even when you’re home.

Finding time for your kids to be more independent during the school year can be difficult. There are so many things that must get done. You may feel as though there isn’t enough time in the day. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do.

Walking To School

As soon as it’s appropriate, I recommend having your kids walk to and from school on their own. When this is appropriate depends on a lot of factors, but it’s great for kids to walk to and from school on their own. Consider these issues when deciding whether to allow your kids to walk or ride bikes to school.

  • child’s age
  • distance
  • traffic
  • other kids walking to school in the area
  • neighborhood safety

It’s not always easy to decide when to let your children walk to school, but it’s a great milestone for them. You can walk them to school for a time while getting them used to the route, but once you think they’re ready, let them walk on their own. Consider participating in Walk To School Day at the very least.

walk to school

You may find that you disagree with other parents on when this is safe. I had a neighbor who couldn’t bear the thought of letting her daughter walk to school on her own, or even with my kids. The daughter was of an age that I thought was easily appropriate, especially with friends, but her mother wasn’t ready.

These things happen when you’re trying to let your kids be more independent. Other parents will disagree with you at times.

Don’t let that stop you.  Children do better when they can express their independence, and sometimes it’s hard to give independence to your kids during the school year. This is one of the best ways once it fits the situation you live in.

Homework

I encourage independence in homework. My kids get a short break after school, but they’re expected to start their homework after that without being reminded and with minimal assistance. They can ask questions, but overall it’s their responsibility.

I often check math, for example, but I do my best to help my kids find the answer themselves. They’ll learn more if they solve the problems themselves, after all. Most times the kids understand the mistake as soon as it is pointed out. As they get older, I check less and less, although I’m always available for questions.

Those big assignments that some parents get a little overenthusiastic about – you can tell my kids handle those with only advice from me, not the actual work. My youngest had to do a family tree already this school year, which was intended as something to be talked about as a family, but the family tree she made for her presentation was all her work with only some advice on layout.

Sometimes kids will be disappointed when they see the grand projects others turn in. You can usually tell when a parent did more work than the kids. I always make sure my kids understand that they can be proud of what they managed on their own. Handling these projects independently will benefit your kids far more than having you do most of the work.

Working from home may in part be about being there for your kids,  but it shouldn’t be about doing everything for your kids. Allowing them to take as much of the lesson from homework as possible is a big help. Don’t be afraid to help when it’s really needed, but also don’t get dragged into doing the assignment for them.

The ability to do their homework independently will be a huge help as they get older. You don’t want your kids expecting you to do too much of their homework as they go through high school or college. The sooner they’re comfortable handling their homework on their own, the more confident they will be about it. Just make sure they know you’re there when they really need help.

Do Kids Really Need To Do Their Homework?

The need for homework at all can be something of a controversy. While many parents demand homework for their children if teachers don’t already assign it, research shows that it may not be beneficial for early elementary students.

Worse, it might even be detrimental.

Consider the research and your individual child’s needs, and talk to their teacher if you disagree with their homework policy. You might change their minds or at least come up with a deal for your child.

Chores

Teaching kids to do chores well is a real pain. My kids can clean the kitchen fairly well and it is such a relief to be able to tell them that it’s time to clean up in there rather than always doing it myself.washing dishes

Teaching them to do it, as I said, wasn’t fun. Much harder than doing it myself. Many times I’d have to do the job over later. But if they don’t try, they don’t learn.

 

But now that they do that and other cleaning without direct supervision on my part, life is so much easier. They don’t like doing chores, but they know it’s a skill they need, so there is a certain degree of pride in their own abilities there too.

My kids first experienced cleaning the floor, for example, with an electric carpet sweeper. It worked great on hard floors too. Carpet sweepers are much easier than vacuums for small children, but they allow kids to quickly clean up those inevitable spills they make all by themselves. This gives them a touch of responsibility plus the pride of doing it themselves.

Playtime

Playtime should be one of the great times for you to give your kids independence during the school year. Children need play. It’s good for them. When they’re younger, it’s better for them than homework.

Kids love it when you play with them. They need the attention. But you should also encourage them to play on their own or with friends. They don’t need your help to have fun every minute.

Independent play at any age encourages your kids’ creativity. They can come up with ideas for things to do on their own.

creative

Make sure they have lots of supplies for fun projects. I don’t mean just toys. Encourage them to make things as well. Here are some of the things I keep on hand for my kids:

Get better quality and more challenging items as the kids get older. I even have a soldering kit for my older kids.

As your kids get older, you can encourage independence by having them arrange their own time to play with friends. You don’t have to arrange play dates all the time with the parents – encourage the kids to come up with their own plans and then confirm that it’s okay. You probably made plans with your friends when you were a kid – let your children do likewise.

Alone Time

My oldest is getting into time for herself in a big way lately, which is driving my youngest a bit up the wall, as she’d rather be with her big sister. While it’s something of an annoyance for her siblings, it’s very healthy for my oldest. She’s doing things on her own, in her own way, whether she decides to close herself up in her room or go up a tree outside. Who doesn’t sometimes need time to be alone with their thoughts?

This kind of independence can take some rules. It’s not a great idea to allow computers or other devices that can access the internet into the kids’ bedrooms, for example. You can figure out rules for your family while considering both online safety and giving your kids some independence.

The Benefit to Parents

Parents benefit tremendously from having children who are capable of doing many things independently. It means you don’t have to be the entertainment or the boss all of the time. For me and my family, that makes the times we choose to do things together all the more fun. We aren’t usually being pushed to do things together, as that’s not the only way we function.

It’s much easier for me to work at home this way. I can work while the kids play, do homework, chores or watch television. I’m usually around them still so that questions can be answered, but if they don’t need help and are generally behaving, they don’t want my interference, as a general rule.

Letting go is hard, I’ll grant that. It was hard when my oldest started to wander a larger range outside. Letting them go to where I couldn’t just yell for them and expect an answer wasn’t easy. Cell phones as the kids got older helped, as I can send a text when I need them home, but some of the places they like to play don’t have much reception, so it doesn’t always help.

You also need to consider how much your children will need to be independent later in life. The sooner you encourage them to be independent, the better they’ll be at it. They probably aren’t going to live with you forever, and you need to know that they can handle things without you. Helping them build up good habits now will benefit them later. Don’t let school get in the way more than necessary.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated September 11th, 2018

What If The Work At Home Job Is Legitimate But Illegal Or Unethical?

What If The Work At Home Job Is Legitimate But Illegal Or Unethical?

Most of the time when you look at a work at home job opportunity, you only have to worry about whether the job is legitimate. If the company is real, and they pay you, most of the time you’re in good shape. But there are a few cases where you may need to consider whether the work you’re doing is illegal or unethical.

It may seem strange that this is possible, but it is. Just because the company treats you well doesn’t mean they’re behaving properly to everyone.

Some issues are a matter of location. Laws may vary from state to state, so what is legal where you are may not be legal elsewhere. It’s entirely possible that it may come back to bite you even if you are somewhere where the work you’re doing is legal if you provide services to someone in a place where it is not.

essay writing

College Essay Writing Services

College essay writing services are one of those special cases where you should really think about what you’re doing. Writing for pay as such is legal, but in some states writing college essays for pay for someone is illegal. Consider California Education Code Section 66400:

“66400. No person shall prepare, offer to prepare, cause to be prepared, sell, or otherwise distribute any term paper, thesis, dissertation, or other written material for another person, for a fee or other compensation, with the knowledge, or under circumstances in which he should reasonably have known, that such term paper, thesis, dissertation, or other written material is to be submitted by any other person for academic credit at any public or private college, university, or other institution of higher learning in this state.”

Or Florida Statutes Section 877.17:

“It shall be unlawful for any person or business entity to sell, offer to sell, or advertise for sale any term paper, thesis, dissertation, essay, or report or any written, recorded, pictorial, artistic, or other assignment which the seller or advertiser knew or reasonably should have known was intended for submission by a student, unaltered to any substantial degree, in fulfillment of the requirements for a degree, diploma, certificate, or course of study at a university, college, academy, school, or other educational institution in the state.”

It’s a second degree misdemeanor in Florida.

Essay writing services try to get around these by saying that the papers are for use as guidelines, or for use in citations. You should decide how much you’re willing to trust these disclaimers before accepting such work.

Illegal or not, you should also consider the ethics of the matter. Are you comfortable with what your work would be used for? How would you feel about someone who had used essay writing services to make it through college, rather than graduating entirely on their own merits? Then there’s the risk to the student if the college catches them using a service. No college allows students to buy papers – all work must be your own.

legal or illegal

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing opportunities can be legal or illegal, depending on how they’re done. There are plenty of legitimate companies which focus on making sales rather than recruiting. But there are too many companies which are pyramid schemes and are illegal.

The difference is in the focus. Is the company more interested in how many people you recruit or how much you sell? Some recruiting is necessary for any multi-level marketing program, but it shouldn’t be the main thing. Too much focus on recruiting is one of the signs of a pyramid scheme.

Also look at the claims made about the products you’re selling. Companies, as well as individual recruiters, can make inappropriate claims about the products they sell, and if you make those claims, you may be liable for it.

You especially see this in any products related to health. Any claim about curing, treating, mitigating or preventing actual diseases has to be proven. Don’t make health claims that aren’t backed up by studies. There’s a fine line between stating your own experience with a product and making a health claim that might get you in trouble. If you’re looking at joining a company that makes any such claims about their products, find out how they back it up. Not only are such claims illegal, they’re as unethical as can be when they’re wrong.

Beware of making income claims too. Overstated income claims are all too common, and can get people and companies into trouble. There’s a huge difference between what top earners make in an opportunity and what the average person makes. The FTC expects income claims to be what someone can actually expect to make. Appropriate disclosures must be made before a new distributor can join.

The Business You Start Might Be Illegal

Illegal work at home opportunities aren’t only scams that you fall for. Sometimes people start a home business and don’t realize that they’re breaking the law in doing so.

The first thing you need to do to ensure that your home business stays legal is check the zoning in your area. Check your lease agreement as well if you’re renting.

If your home business is completely online, you’ll be just fine in many places. Not everywhere, so you still need to check.

If you’re seeing clients in your home or if you have products stored in your home, the rules are often more strict. Anything that impacts the traffic in your area is more likely to be an issue.

Most city websites will give some information about how to run a legal home business. They’re common enough, after all. But if you can’t find the information online, you have to go to the appropriate offices to ask.

While you can run a home business a long time in many cases without getting caught, it’s a risk you shouldn’t take. Getting caught can result in fines and you may have to shut your business down until you can make it legal again.

boxes

What About Other Illegal Work At Home Jobs?

Most other illegal work at home jobs I already list in the scams section. Often enough, the illegal part hits victims fast enough that they won’t make money – they’ll be out money.

Take the reshipping scam, for example. You receive goods at your home and send them off to someone else. It turns out that the goods were paid for with a stolen credit card or counterfeit check, and you have now helped them in that crime and can be in legal trouble yourself. They might even pay you with a counterfeit check or money order. It’s just a nasty business all around.

Then there are the classic envelope stuffing or email processing scams. They’re pretty much the same thing – when you respond to the ad, you get instructions on how to place the same ad and have people pay you for the instructions. You might make some money, but the method you’re using is illegal. There are several variations on this theme, but they all amount to the same thing.  Just don’t.

I haven’t names every illegal job you could do at home. If you have your doubts about a work at home job or home business opportunity, investigate it and make sure it’s neither a scam nor illegal, and that you’re comfortable ethically with what you’re doing.

What To Do If A Work At Home Job Is Illegal Or Unethical

Deciding what to do when you realize that a possible work at home job may be illegal or unethical can be hard to do. It may not be easy to figure out how to report it.

You can find some good advice on recognizing scams and frauds and how to report them on the USA.gov site. Most often, you can report to either the FTC or the ICC.

If the legality depends on location, there may be little you can do. Certainly you can try to report it locally, but there will be only so much local law enforcement can do.

Of course, none of what I’m saying here is legal advice. If you’re concerned about any of these issues, take a careful look at what concerns you and decide if advice from an attorney is necessary. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble if you keep aware of the law.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated September 10th, 2018

Amazon Now Hiring Seasonal Work From Home Customer Service Associates

Amazon Now Hiring Seasonal Work From Home Customer Service Associates

Amazon is currently hiring people in South Carolina, Idaho, New Mexico, Tennessee, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Mississippi to work from home for them in customer service. If you don’t live in one of those states, they will not consider your application for this position. These are seasonal and part time customer service positions.

Military applicants are welcomed to these positions.

Requirements

Applicants must have at least one year of customer service experience.

You must go in person to a location Amazon gives you to complete your I-9 paperwork. You must have a high school diploma and be fluent in English.

This job is part time, and you may need to work additional hours during the busy season. Naturally, there are more hours available during the peak season, starting Thanksgiving and running through mid-January. There may be regular employment for some people after the busy season is over, but there is no guarantee that any seasonal employees will continue on.

Shifts may be any day of the week, at any time, as the call center is open 24/7. You must be available to work holidays such as Thanksgiving, as those can be very busy days. Prime Day and Black Friday will also be very busy, so you will likely work those days. On average, part time associates will work 20-29 hours per week.

This job will pay $10 per hour during training, and $12 per hour after training, higher if required by law.

This is not the position for you if you have to care for children or another adult during your work shifts. You must commit fully to the customer while you work. No distractions.

You must be able to navigate the internet and use multiple browsers, email, and instant messenger/chat tools. Your priorities must focus on customer needs as you resolve conflicts and set customer expectations. The job will be primarily phone based but may involve chat or email as well.

Equipment Required

Amazon will provide you with a laptop, headset, and Ethernet adapter shipped to your address. You are encouraged to use an external monitor, USB keyboard and mouse if you have them available. Amazon will not provide these extras.

Your internet speeds must reach at least 10 mbps download and 5 mbps upload speed. You must use a direct Ethernet connection to your router.

This is one of many customer service work at home positions listed on the Home With the Kids Online Job Board. Take a look at the job board to find other companies looking for people to work for them in customer service and many other types of jobs.

This position is only open seasonally. You can check Amazon’s job board to check for other remote jobs at any time to see if you qualify for other positions.

Amazon Now Hiring Seasonal Work From Home Customer Service Associates Part Time

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated September 7th, 2018

Sibling Rivalry: How To Help Siblings Get Along

Sibling Rivalry: How To Help Siblings Get Along

How much do you dread sibling rivalry between your kids? It can be a real headache for parents when siblings see each other as rivals rather than as friends. Parents can make this worse if they don’t pay attention to each child’s needs. But there are also things you can do to reduce sibling rivalry and help them get along.

Now, all of this is just my own opinion. I’m not a doctor or anything like that. But these ideas work for us, and I hope they work for others.

Some sibling rivalry is natural. It’s pretty much a law of parenting. Kids can be greedy jerks, especially to their brothers and sisters. They’re much more aware of their own needs than the needs of others, especially when they’re young.

But sibling rivalry gets worse when kids feel that they’re being treated unfairly. When one child gets more attention, the other kids notice. Even if there’s a good reason to give one child more attention, the differences can create sibling rivalry.

I’m lucky. My kids have a nice, low level of sibling rivalry. Sure, they call each other names, but it’s mostly friendly. There’s a bit of “to drive each other up the wall” in there too, but it’s not at an unhealthy level.

Ok, maybe it isn’t all luck. As with many parts of raising a family, it’s a combination of parenting and the personalities my kids are born with. I firmly believe these things are a combination of nature and nurture, not one or the other.

Still, there are some things you can do to minimize sibling rivalry with your kids. Much of it comes down to knowing how to treat your kids fairly but differently.

Treat Them As Individuals

I’m sure you’ve noticed how different each of your kids are. I know my kids are similar in some ways but very different in others. Some differences are due to age differences but others are pure personality.

My son is the organized one, my youngest daughter the least organized, even with age taken into consideration. It has been challenging at times to deal with the differences

Let each child know you see them as an individual. Their learning styles and needs can be very different. Pay attention to those differences.

This won’t always be easy. In fact, it can be downright frustrating.

Let’s say your first kid is one of those kids who eats everything. Not a picky eater at all. You feel like a great parent. They even eat their vegetables and ask for more.

The next kid is a picky eater, and I mean picky! Ketchup is too spicy. If it’s not chicken, it’s not edible. And don’t even think about vegetables.

Times like this are when you find out that some things are out of your control as a parent. You can work with the picky eater, but if you’re always comparing them to the older sibling, they’re going to resent it.

You’re far better off figuring out what it will take to help your picky eater learn to eat a wider range of foods. This takes time and a lot of patience.

siblings

Treating your kids as individuals doesn’t mean you have to make separate meals to cope with different tastes, of course. It can mean finding a balance that works for both or coming up with rules that help both kids do well at mealtimes.

This happens with more than just food, of course. How well a kid gets up in the morning, how they do in school, and their attitudes, in general, all depend on the child as an individual. You’ll find that you can expect different things with each child. Treat them that way.

Equal Treatment Isn’t Always Fair

Do not treat your kids equally just because you think you have to. Help them see why things aren’t equal. Talk it out.

For example, older kids get a later bedtime because they don’t need as much sleep. Younger kids may envy the later bedtime but will be too tired if they don’t get their sleep. When younger kids get jealous of a difference in bedtimes, explain why they can’t stay up so late.

Explaining that many differences in treatment will disappear as kids get older can help. Younger siblings can be jealous of all the things older siblings can do, while older siblings can envy the few responsibilities of the younger.

When differences are age related, you can explain how these things relate to age. A younger child is not capable of many things the older does with ease. Treating them exactly the same all of the time wouldn’t be fair.

Respect Your Kids’ Feelings

Kids are just like adults. They get angry more easily when they’re tired. They get frustrated when things don’t go right. And they hate it when people don’t respect their feelings.

It happens a lot.

Think about it. Have you ever scolded your kids for expressing their feelings? Most parents have.

A part of that is teaching kids to control their feelings better. If we all expressed ourselves as loudly as toddlers, the world would be a much noisier place.

But you can teach your kids to control their feelings while still respecting those feelings. Don’t dismiss their feelings out of hand – they are real.

There will be times that it’s hard to control your own feelings when your kids are loudly expressing theirs. Parenthood is exhausting, especially if you’re running low on sleep. There will be times when you yell because you’re tired. Do your best to set the example, and admit your mistakes when they happen.

siblings

Be Consistent

Consistency is a big part of making your kids feel that they are being fairly treated. They like to know that the rules are the same for everyone, as well as why there are exceptions.

No parent can be 100% consistent – situations will make you change the rules sometimes. Sometimes this is due to the personalities of your kids – one may be more responsible and therefore get privileges the less responsible one can’t have yet.

But even these differences you can use to your advantage as a parent. When you can’t be consistent, explain why.

Give Individual Attention

Find time to do things individually with each child. This does not have to cost money. A trip to the playground is often enough when the kids are little. A hike or even a walk around the block can work well with older kids.

Giving each of your kids individual attention gives them a chance to talk to you about the things that are important to them. Sometimes it will be things their siblings know already; other times they only want to talk to you about it.

If you realize a big conversation is starting, just go with it if at all possible. My oldest and I almost spent the night chatting in the garage one evening because we just got talking. Our garage is a comfortable place, set up as the kids’ zone with a hammock, huge beanbag chair, video games and more. Chatting the entire evening into the night wasn’t what I had planned, but it sure worked out.

A ride in the car also works. Take just one kid along when you run errands if you can. They might just be up for a nice talk while you get things done. A treat along the way helps if it fits into the budget.

Encourage Your Kids To Have Fun Together

Find ways for your kids to spend fun time together. This is challenging when their interests are different, especially when it’s due to an age difference. My teen rarely likes having to do the same thing as my elementary school age daughter, but we make sure to find some things they can do together and have fun.

The right board game or card game can be a great choice. My kids love to play Exploding Kittens, for example. They’ll also play The Game Of Life together. Anything that isn’t so simple as to be boring for the older kids is a good plan.

Family hikes are another good option. Older kids may grumble when the younger move at a slower pace, but they also get the opportunity to be the teacher and leader, which most enjoy for reasonable periods. My older kids have had a lot of fun helping the youngest get more confident climbing rocks in Joshua Tree. Nothing terribly high or challenging for any of them, as they don’t have equipment, but there’s a lot you can do there with hands, feet, and a little encouragement.

On the other side of things, make sure you respect your children’s space. Sometimes kids need to be left to do their own thing. This is especially true as they get older. My teen likes to spend a lot of time on her own in her room. I did the same when I was a teen. If you force too much togetherness, the kids will have more difficulty having fun together at other times.

Listen To Your Kids

Listen to your kids, even when you think you know the whole story already. You might be wrong. Even if you aren’t, they need to know that you hear them.

If you have a child who often complains that things are not fair, find out why.

The movie Labyrinth can help you talk about fairness with your kids. Think about when Sarah realized that “it’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.” Sometimes that’s really the way it is. Spirited Away is another good one.

Sometimes you will have to insist your kids talk one at a time. You know how it gets when they want you to settle an argument. They each need to get their story out as fast as possible. You may have to tell one or another to wait their turn.

Even when it’s difficult, make your kids feel that you’re listening to each of them. Everyone needs to feel that way.

siblings

Encourage Your Kids To Explore Their Own Interests

Allow your kids to explore their own interests. They don’t all have to sign up for the same activities, even though that is probably easier on you as a parent. Doing this can also encourage your kids to be more independent.

Don’t assume boys will love one activity and girls another. They might surprise you.

If you’re lucky, their schools will have a lot of options as they reach that age. My kids’ schools have a lot of clubs, which makes it much easier for my kids to explore their own interests. What I need to know is the cost, if any, and what time to pick them up after. That and any competitions I have to attend, and if parent volunteers are required.

One activity I highly recommend is Destination Imagination. The great part is that it appeals to a wide range of interests, as you can choose from a variety of challenges, all of which encourage creativity. Two of my kids have chosen to join Destination Imagination various years, and both have loved it. The third has no interest in performing, and all of the challenges have some aspect of that.

If your kids’ school doesn’t do Destination Imagination or you homeschool, don’t worry. Your kids can form their own team together or with friends.

It can be more challenging when the kids are little or if there’s nothing that interests them in the extracurricular activities the school offers. Check with local community centers and children’s sports leagues to see what’s available.

One rule I recommend for children’s activities is that once you’ve paid for it or they’ve joined a team, they’re committed. I very rarely make an exception for that. This teaches kids to keep working on things even as they get difficult or weren’t as much fun as they thought. A lot of life is like that, so it’s a good lesson to pick up early.

My oldest daughter learned that lesson when she had me sign her up for soccer. She soon found out that it wasn’t as simple as kicking the ball around. But I made her stick with the team for the rest of the season. A few years later, she agreed the lesson had been good. It wasn’t that much of a hardship on her, and she learned that you don’t quit just because something is harder than you thought it would be.

Don’t Expect To Avoid All Sibling Rivalry

Even if you’re a great parent and treat your kids fairly while respecting them as individuals, you may have some sibling rivalry. This is normal, and you don’t always have to get into the middle of it. Sometimes they’re just having fun messing with each other.

My kids, for example, will sometimes call each other names. They get really annoyed if we stop them, as this is something they’ve established as a part of their relationship. What sibling rivalry they have is on a fairly friendly level most days.

That’s the kind of thing you want as a parent. Being siblings doesn’t have to mean they’re best friends. It should mean they like each other fairly well and can have fun together. Some of the arguing can just mean that they trust each other enough to do that.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated September 3rd, 2018

How Do You Know When Your Work At Home Job Interview Is A Scam?

How Do You Know When Your Work At Home Job Interview Is A Scam?

Have you ever had a work at home job interview which made you wonder if the job was a scam? That would be a terrible feeling, wouldn’t it? You’ve looked hard for a work at home job, found something you thought was worth applying for, and then boom! You realize that this work at home job interview is a scam, nothing more.

What a waste of time.

The problem is that it’s not always that obvious that they’re setting you up to be scammed. You have to be alert to the signs of a work at home scam anytime you go on a job interview. These scams can start with jobs you’ve found on otherwise legitimate job sites. You always have to be careful in your work at home job hunt.

Here are some of the red flags to consider:

Interview Is For A Job You Never Applied For

If a company contacts you to interview for a job you never applied for, don’t get too excited. It’s all too likely that it’s a scam.

A few legitimate companies will seek out the resumes of qualified people, but more scammers do this. If a company contacts you out of the blue for an interview, do your research before trusting them.

Most often, they will claim to have found your resume on a popular job site. This means the first thing you should consider is if your resume is even on that site.

But even if your resume is there, that’s not enough to trust the person contacting you. If your resume wasn’t on that site, however, you know it’s probably a scam.

They Want Your Personal Information Too Soon

When you’ve been hired by a company, there’s a lot of information you’ll need to share with them. They need your Social Security Number for tax purposes. They need your bank account information to do direct deposit of your pay. This is perfectly reasonable.

A legitimate employer will not, however, need this information right at the start of the interview process. They will need to confirm at some point that you are qualified to work for them, and that may include knowing where you live and that you’re a legal resident, but that only matters if they’re going to hire you.

Share your personal information only if you’re confident that the job is legitimate. Otherwise, you’re putting yourself at risk of identity theft.

computer desk

They Ask For Money

There are very few exceptions to the rule that if a job asks you for money, it’s a scam. You should never have to pay to show interest in a job. But sometimes scammers are tricky. They can make it sound reasonable.

The challenge is that some legitimate employers have potential employees pay for a background check. This even happens with some outside the home jobs; it’s not restricted to work at home employers.

If a potential employer wants you to pay for a background check, get information on who will be doing the check and whether you will be paying the employer or the background check company. You can then do some research to find out if this is truly a normal practice for that company or if someone is pretending to be them.

A few other companies will hire you as a freelancer and you may have to pay for certain kinds of training. This should also be viewed with caution until you know that the offer is legitimate.

I have never seen any other legitimate reason for an employer to ask a potential employee for money. Businesses should make money from their clients or the products and services they sell, not from potential employees.

Legitimate companies will not ask you to give them money for the equipment to do your job. You don’t need to buy software from them. Legitimate employers will either provide these things to you or expect you to have them already.

They Want To Send You Money To Buy Equipment

Some legitimate work at home opportunities will give you the equipment you need to do your job. Some will give you a budget with which to buy your own equipment.

If they say they’re sending you a check or money order for this, be careful. It could be one of the classic scams.

In this scam, they’ll tell you to cash the check, use part for your needs, and send the extra back. The problem is that the check is not legitimate, and you will be on the hook for the entire amount of the check.

They may even tell you that the money is to be sent to someone in particular, who will then send you the equipment you need. If you stop to think about this, you’ll know that it makes no sense. If they have a company they regularly buy from, they could pay that company directly and have the equipment shipped to you.

Interview Is Done Entirely Online

It’s not uncommon for parts of a work at home job interview to be done online. It’s certainly more practical than trying to do interviews in person.

But most do at least a part of the interview by telephone.

The most alarming is if they want to interview you only by email or on a messaging app of any sort. Your typical employer wants to actually talk to potential employees, as that gives them a better idea as to how you present yourself.

Skype is sometimes used for job interviews, as are similar apps that allow you to talk to each other, rather than using only text or email.

If you cannot find a way to confirm that the person who is interviewing you is connected to the company, be careful.

Email addresses are an easy way to connect someone to a company. They should belong to the domain owned by the company you’re interviewing with. A Gmail address or other free address is far more likely to be a scam. An email address that is similar to, but not identical to the company’s domain should also be viewed with caution, although some companies have multiple domains.

They Don’t Care About Your Qualifications

Any legitimate employer is going to care that you’re qualified for the job. In an interview, they’ll want to know more about your qualifications and experience than what they saw in your resume. They will ask you questions to draw out the details that are important to them.

Someone who is running a scam wants to lure you in as fast as possible, so they can move on to the next victim.

On a related note, they may also be vague about the details of what you’ll be doing in the job. That’s because they’re either more interested in stealing your personal information or because they know you’ll catch on if they tell you too much too soon.

laptop scam

They Offer You The Job Almost Immediately

Very few jobs hire people during the first interview. Most employers go through a lot of interviews with applicants to find just the right employee for the job. Even if you have an excellent interview, employers usually have to review how all the interviews for that position went, and possibly conduct more rounds of interviews before deciding who to hire. This can take weeks or even months.

A scammer knows that they need to land you quickly or you’ll have more time to realize that it’s not legitimate. They also count on your need to earn money and desire to do so quickly and easily. If you’re so eager to find a way to work at home, you’re an easy target.

The Name Of The Company Isn’t Clear

While some scams will claim to be from legitimate companies, others won’t make it clear if they have a company name at all. Often enough, this is done by someone claiming that they are recruiting for another company. They’ll tell you that it’s so you don’t go to the company directly and that the recruiter wants to be paid for finding you.

It has more to do with the fact that if you contact the company, you’ll find out that there is no job.

If you have any doubt about the legitimacy of a job, get as much information as you can about the company and the person you’re talking to. You can look them up on sites such as LinkedIn, and see if the information given matches up.

What Do You Do Next?

There are few things as frustrating as finding out that your work at home job interview is a scam. Your time has just been wasted. It’s a bump in the road of your work at home job hunt. You can’t help but worry about whatever information you shared in that interview.

But you may not be completely helpless. There are things you can do.

If you believe the job opportunity was a scam, you should consider reporting it. The services they used to contact you may be very interested in this information. They don’t want people pulling scams through their services, as it gives them a bad name too.

If the scammer was using the name of a legitimate company, you can contact them as well. They can’t do much to stop the scam, but they’re usually very interested in knowing. This is why some companies have a scam warning on their job pages.

Reporting a scam as best you can is how you can help slow them down. You won’t stop a determined scammer, and arrests are rare due to the difficulty of catching them, but you can make things a little more difficult for them. That’s not a bad thing at all.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.