Craigslist can be a wonderful resource in your search for a legitimate work at home job, but it’s also one of the most dangerous. Posts aren’t screened before they show up, although users can flag ones they believe to be scams. You must pay close attention to what the ads say and really know what the common signs of a scam are when you search Craigslist for home based work.
Use the Right Keywords
“Work at home” isn’t necessarily the best keyword to use when you want to work at home. It’s too easy a choice for scams, since it’s such a popular keyword. Legitimate jobs use it too, but there are other terms you should consider, such as “telecommute,” “remote work,” “home based” and “virtual,” as well as terms specific to the kind of work you want to do. You’ll generally do much better in your job hunt if you know what kind of work you want to do and are qualified to do, and search for it, same as for when you work outside the home.
Use Search Tools
Craigslist can be a bit of a bear to search on the main site, as they want you to pick a particular city to search. That’s kind of tedious when you’re looking for work that isn’t location based. Most work at home jobs can be done anywhere, and so really aren’t limited by location.
Ad Hunt’r is one site that allows you to search all of Craigslist. It’s much easier than going city by city, and you can narrow things down in the left sidebar once you’ve started your search. They also have a specific job hunt search page that goes through Indeed. Other sites include Search Tempest, Search All Junk, and Dailylister.
Know the Obvious Scams
Sometimes the scams are obvious. Not always, but often enough that you should be able to dismiss some postings right away. If they talk about “wealth,” “freedom,” a “system,” and so forth, the odds are good that it’s a scam. Most jobs aren’t going to make you wealthy, and even the flexible ones aren’t going to go on about how much freedom you’ll have while you work for them. Real employers are more interested in what you can do for them than what they can do for you. Benefits such as flexibility usually aren’t emphasized over what the employer needs you to do.
Scams are also obvious when they make outrageous income claims. Anyone promising hundreds of dollars a day or thousands a week for working just a few hours is lying to you. It’s just that simple. Some few can make that kind of money with minimal effort, but it’s usually after years and years of hard work, not right away. Anyone who says differently is selling something… and it’s probably not worth buying.
Data entry jobs in particular, are usually scams. Not always, but there’s just not that much call for it from real businesses. Same for envelope stuffing. These both tend to offer huge paychecks in their ads, and are simply scams. If you want to do data entry because you type well, look at virtual assistant positions that ask for it as a part of a job that you can handle, or look at general transcription. Make sure you’re qualified, of course.
Don’t pay for a job either, which should almost go without saying. There are times where money can legitimately be involved, but most times it’s not. Don’t pay to show that you’re serious about a job, for example. On the other hand, some companies may legitimately require a background check and ask that you pay for it. In my opinion, that should be the employer’s expense, but some legitimate companies will have the applicant pay.
Job Or Business?
Make sure you also know the difference between a work at home job and a home based business. The line can be pretty thin, as many work at home jobs are freelance/contract positions where you’re in charge of the hours you work, paying your own taxes, etc., and so could be considered a business even though the work is otherwise more like a job. I’ve written in the past about how to know if you’re an employee or an independent contractor, and that’s a good thing to consider as you search.
A lot of flat out business opportunities post on Craigslist posing as work at home jobs, and you should be aware of that. Business opportunities can legitimately charge you to start up, and there will be expenses to keep going. Some people try to recruit for multi level marketing opportunities as though they’re jobs, for example. If is a business isn’t what you want, stay away from these listings. If a business is what you want, I’d suggest looking for someone who is more honest about what you’re getting into.
Do Your Due Diligence
If the company gives their name, check them out. Don’t assume, however, that the use of the name is legitimate, as some scammers will use a company’s name fraudulently to build trust. Make sure everything sounds good before you trust them too much.
You won’t always be able to check the company out, however. Some are smaller companies that don’t want to put a lot of information out there, or even sole proprietorships without regular employees who just need a little help. These can be touchy about putting their information out publicly, and would be hard to investigate anyhow. In such cases, be careful about what information of your own you share until you’re confident that it’s a real opportunity.
Listen to Your Instincts
To a certain degree, you should trust your instincts about the different jobs you find, especially if they say something doesn’t sound right. You may not always be able to point to exactly what tells you that you shouldn’t trust a particular opportunity, but if you get that feeling, pay at least enough attention to do some extra research, if you even still want to try for it at all.
On the other hand, if your instincts say to trust an opportunity, still do all your research on it. Instincts can be wrong, and it’s better to err on the side of caution.