Being scammed is one of the big fears of every work at home job seekers. If you’ve done any research at all about working at home, you know that it’s a real concern. But the question is, how concerned should you be? How can you find safe work at home jobs?
In part, this depends on how you look for a work at home job. If you use the right resources, it’s fairly safe. The wrong ones, pretty risky. No matter how you look for a work at home job, there are things you can do to make your work at home job search safer.
Know The Signs Of A Work At Home Scam
The most important thing you need to know when looking for a work at home job is what the signs of a scam are. Knowing this will help you avoid them.
This will help you even if a scammer is using the name of a legitimate company to fool you. It happens – in fact, some companies that offer work at home jobs have warnings about this on their sites because it’s such a problem.
Your classic work at home scam will offer too much money for too little work. That’s the essential basis for scams such as the check cashing scam. They send you a check or money order for hundreds or thousands of dollars, tell you to keep a couple hundred for yourself and wire the rest back to them. It works on some people because they get greedy. The idea that you can earn hundreds for a half hour’s work, including driving, is pretty appealing to many people.
Poor grammar and lots of typos are often indicative of scams. Many come from people who do not speak English as their native language, so when they try to scam someone who speaks English, it’s not written the same way a native speaker would write it. It may also help to weed out those who are too aware, as the ones who dismiss the scam due to how it’s written may be too likely to see through it. Scams prey on the unwary.
I’ve written quite a bit about work at home scam on other occasions. Read these for more detailed information.
The Work at Home Job Seeker’s Guide to Scams
How to Spot a Work at Home Scam
4 Work at Home Scam Emails
What If The Work At Home Job Is Legitimate But Illegal Or Unethical?
The Check Cashing Scam Is Still Around
Know The Kind Of Work At Home Job You’re Looking For
It’s much easier to fall for a work at home scam if you have no idea what kind of work you’re looking for. This is because generic terms such as “work at home” are used to attract you even when you don’t have a type of job in mind.
I see so many people do this. They ask for help to find a work at home job, with no information beyond that because they haven’t thought that far. They want the advantages of working at home but haven’t truly considered it beyond that.
Know what you’re looking for. Are you open to a home business, starting a blog, etc., or do you only want a work at home job? What kind of job do you want? Do you have work experience? What skills, even if you haven’t used them in a job?
Being specific allows you to narrow down your search quickly. That’s vital for a safe work at home job hunt. It won’t guarantee that you avoid all the scams, but it helps.
Use Trusted Resources
Perhaps the best way to have a safe work at home job hunt is to use trusted resources to find a work at home job. I aim to have this blog and my remote job board be that kind of a resource.
If you aren’t certain about the kind of jobs you’re looking to do at home, for example, you can try my list of entry level remote jobs or my list of remote jobs with benefits. Either will give you a good number of places to start your search.
Even trusted resources can fail you. I can’t tell you how often I’ve gone through my list of companies to find out that one or another has gone out of business since I last checked. That puts the company’s domain at risk for being used by scammers. Things change fast on the internet sometimes, and it’s not always for the better. This is why you must always use caution in your job hunt.
Use Caution With Your Personal Information
Always be careful when sharing your personal information online, especially your Social Security number, credit card number, or bank information.
Some legitimate companies have been known to ask for your Social Security number during the application process. I recommend trying not to share that until you’ve been offered a job – they don’t need that information until then.
Some companies will ask for credit card information to pay for a background check. I’ve never liked the notion of potential employees paying for a background check, but that’s how some companies do it. Be very, very certain that they’re legitimate before taking a chance on this.
Companies shouldn’t need any banking information until they’re paying you, and so that should never be shared in an application.
Anyone who is too eager to get your personal information too quickly should be eyed with caution. It might be normal for their particular business, but it’s not a good idea for you to go along with it too easily.
Places You Shouldn’t Look For A Work At Home Job
There are some places that are very high risk in your work at home job hunt. I would recommend avoiding these in general.
Street Signs & Public Bulletin Boards – You’ve probably seen the signs on the street or on bulletin boards advertising work at home or easy money opportunities. These are almost certainly scams. You may get the occasional person trying to recruit their downline for a network marketing company (a risk of a different sort), but many others are flat out scams.
Newspapers – Job offerings in newspapers can be legit, but how many people actually look in newspapers for jobs anymore? The scams that get posted in newspaper ads are looking for people who aren’t that savvy. You’re better off using your trusted online sources so that you can do research on the jobs you find during your search.
Newspapers are also too localized to be much good for work at home jobs. You might find one or two, but you can find so many more if you search online.
Comment Spam – How often have you seen spam comments on blog posts, forums, and social media advertising easy money earned from home? They aren’t honest. Usually, they just tell you to post ads of the same sort and make money on commissions. That’s not an honest model.
Craigslist – There are legitimate work at home jobs posted on Craigslist, but there are also scams. The community can flag the postings to shut them down, but they may still be up for a while. You’ll also find business opportunities claiming to be job opportunities. I’ve always hated that sort of deception, but people use it.
Can The Better Business Bureau Help You Find Safe Work At Home Jobs?
Many people will tell you to check with the Better Business Bureau when looking for work at home jobs. I’ve done so in the past, but these days I think there are better ways to figure out if a work at home job opportunity is, in fact, a scam.
Many people don’t realize that the Better Business Bureau is not a government agency. They are themselves a business. Companies pay to be members.
That said, sometimes you can use them to spot a scam. Just don’t use them as your only source, because they can’t tell you if someone is using the good name of a real company to scam you. They’re only helpful if scamming potential employees is all the business seems to do.
Know The Risks Of Home Business Opportunities
If you decide that your work at home job hunt is going to end with a home business opportunity of whatever sort, know what the risks are before you join.
Network marketing opportunities, for examples, are highly appealing to people who desperately need to earn money from home. Promoters can always point to the people who have earned a ton of money from the opportunity. You can usually check out the product before you join so that you know it’s something you’d like to do.
What often gets swept under the carpet is how many people lose money on these opportunities. Some people will lose thousands of dollars trying to keep up a good supply of products to sell. Most people who join even the best of the network marketing opportunities do not thrive at it. Others do very well, but it’s a risk you must be willing to take.
The same goes for blogging, much as I love it. You always hear about the people making five figures or more a month blogging. It sounds wonderful.
From what I’ve heard, most bloggers earn less than $100 a month. Is that a chance you’re willing to take?
The great part about blogging is that it doesn’t have to cost you anything. If you decide you want to blog, I recommend spending a little on it, as good hosting and domain name aren’t free, but they are cheap. The risk is pretty low, and you don’t have to spend more until you’re ready to take that chance. Choose the right topic, and blogging is fun, regardless of the money made. I strongly recommend trying to earn money from your blog, just because it’s so awesome when it works, so long as you don’t overspend trying to make it happen.
Be careful of blogging courses and such. Many high income bloggers have them, and income from selling their courses may be a significant part of their income. Taking their course doesn’t guarantee that you’ll do equally well. The right course might just be a wise investment. The wrong one will be a waste.
The same goes for any other home business opportunity. Know the risks before you risk too much money. There are times when spending money is the best path to improving your home business. Other times it’s no better than a scam aimed at home business owners.
Safe Work At Home Jobs Can Be Found
If you give your job hunt time and don’t give in to desperation, safe work at home jobs can be found. Take the time to look over every opportunity carefully so that you know what you’re getting into before you share your personal information or spend any money. Do it right, and you’ll avoid most scams with ease.