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.
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.
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.