It’s easy to think only gullible people can be tricked into believing a work from home scam.
Of course not people with common sense like you…
But the truth is:
Anyone can fall victim to an online scam.
We’re all busy and it only takes a few minutes of getting carried away before you can find yourself trapped in a scammers snare.
A simple Google search will have scammers ready to pounce on any unsuspecting victim trusting enough to hand over their credit card details.
So in a world where scammers are using more deceptive and persuasive methods of parting you with your cash and personal info, how can you avoid falling victim to a work from home scam online?
While there many legitimate work from home jobs online, there are hundreds of work from home scams too.
And the best way to avoid work from home scams online and protect yourself is to know what tell-tale signs to look out for.
Though there are different types of work from home scams, there are common traits that, once you know what you’re looking for, you can spot a mile off.
If you’ve been unfortunate enough to fall victim to an online scam artist please here’s How to report a work from home scam.
My hope is that this will help you to identify and avoid the work from home scams and keep your money in your bank account.
So, after reviewing many work from home programs online, here are the common tell-tale signs of a work from home scam:
Top 13 tell-tale Signs of work from home online scams
1. It sounds too good to be true
Scammers get money out of you by making shiny promises they can’t keep. They know exactly how to press your emotional buttons so they can manipulate you.
Below is an example of an actual work from home scam I came across online. Oh wouldn’t it be so amazing to find that groundbreaking, top-secret software to make money online fast?
And on autopilot too? Even better!
Scam avoidance tip: Like your mum always says: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” That’s good advice, listen to your mum.
2. A random stranger contacts you out of the blue
They’ll say you won a lottery you never entered, or they found your resume online and want to talk to you about a ‘special’ work from home opportunity.
One of the signs of a work from home scam is that someone you don’t know contacts you. More sophisiticated scammers may even have some personal information on you they got from Facebook or LinkedIn – don’t fall for it.
Scam avoidance tip: Be very careful what you post about yourself online. So many people post their date of birth, home address and places of work on their Facebook profiles without realising they’re opening themselves up to potential online fraud.
3. Promises of overnight riches at the click of a mouse
One of the biggest tell-tale signs of these type of work from home scams are that they promise you almost immediate riches with little or no effort required.
Here’s a reality check: real work from home opportunities take a massive dose of elbow grease. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not honest.
Any legitimate business, whether on or offline will take time, a strong work ethic, consistency and determination to become successful.
Scam avoidance tip: Never buy a training program or online business training that doesn’t give you a free trail first. This way you get to see for yourself if it’s legit before having to make any payment.
4. Lack of a clear job description
An easy way to spot if a so-called work from home opportunity is the real or just another scam is by looking at the job description.
Does it tell you exactly what is involved and give you a breakdown of how you make money? Or is it void of any job description whatsoever?
And when you try asking what the company does or what work is involved, they’ll try and brush you off by telling you not worry or by asking you to pay a fee for more information.
Legitimate work from home employers should be happy to answer any questions you have about the job on offer. Here are some questions the FTC recommend you ask:
- What tasks will I have to perform? (Ask the program sponsor to list every step of the job.)
- Will I be paid a salary, or will my pay be based on commission?
- Who will pay me?
- When will I get my first paycheck?
Scam avoidance tip: Any real work from home opportunity with nothing to hide will be happy to give you any details you need on a job offer. Ask yourself, what is it they’re not telling you and why?
5. Are their emails a little fishy?
Emails splattered with grammatical errors
Online scammers are intelligent but don’t always have the best grammar. Legit companies will hire professional writers.
So always be on your guard when you get an email that’s full of spelling, grammar, capitalisation or punctuation mistakes.
Emails with no company address and phone number
Scammers don’t like to give contact details, so a surefire way to know if a work from home is legitimate or not is to check if they have a company address and/or phone number.
It’s also good thing to check is if the email comes from a private or company business email address. If it comes from say a personal gmail or yahoo account the chances are it’s from a scammer.
Emails from yahoo or gmail accounts
A common excuse scammers give for using personal email accounts is that the ‘company’s servers are down’ or they experiencing ‘too many problems with spam’. Don’t fall for it, it’s from sitting in their mum’s basement.
Scam avoidance tip: Copy and paste the email into Google and type the word ‘scam’ after it to see if anyone has had a bad experience with this company.
6. Online interviews via Yahoo Instant Messenger
I’m not sure why but Yahoo Instant Messenger is a very popular way to conduct interviews for work from home scams. I guess it’s easy to set up Yahoo accounts and more difficult to trace.
After promising you an interview for a post you never applied for and promising an abnormally high rate of pay they’ll say something like this: (A real example taken from a forum member of scamwarners.com)
“I want you to setup a yahoo messenger and if you got one already use it,add Mrs Carolyn Baker the Interview Manager and IM her on this ID XXXXX asap for the interview/briefing and comprehensive job details.
This is our first step to proceed further.she will be on online waiting for you. Interview Schedule date/time is Wednesday-Friday (9am-3pm).
Before ever agreeing to any type of interview it’s wise to do your research beforehand and don’t be scared to ask questions about the job. If you feel like you’re getting the brush off, forget it and move on.
Scam avoidance tip: Never give out your bank or credit card details or social security number. Remember these people are experts are sounding legit only to be never heard from again once hey got what they wanted from you.
7. There’s no company website
Work from home scams are quite obvious if you take time to step back for a minute and do a few Google searches.
Before ever paying any money or agreeing to an interview, research the company name and seeing what comes up.
If there’s no company website at all or no record – a big red flag. But just because an opportunity has a website doesn’t mean it’s legit either…
More sophisticated scammers can throw up a professional looking website in a couple of hours, so don’t be deceived.
Scam avoidance tip: Go to Domain White Pages and type the company’s website address. Here’s you’ll find basic background information about when the website was created. If a site is less than a year old, approach with extreme caution.
8. Work from home scams ask you to pay a fee to apply or get more info
Any legitimate work from home opportunity will provide you with the tools you need to do the job.
Work from home scams will often ask you to pay for software needed to do the job or to pay for a credit report and some scammers are even bold enough to ask for a fee just to review your application.
If you do send your hear-earned money you probably find that you receive nothing in return. Oftentimes, if you give scammers your bank account details you’ll find that more than the fee they asked for is taken out of your account.
Scam avoidance tip: Never give your credit card details or personal information via email or telephone unless you’re 100% sure they are who they say they are. If you have given a scammer your details, contact your bank immediately and tell them exactly what happened.
9. Scammers try to get your confidential information
Skilled at giving seemingly valid reasons for you hand over your social security or credit card details, scammers may ask you to fill out a ‘credit report form’ on one of their websites.
Identity theft or phishing scammers will do anything they can to get personal information from you such as your national insurance number, date of births and account information.
Scam avoidance tip: Always shred bank statements and any other financial or tax documents.
10. Real work from home opportunities don’t ask you to keep hush
Does the scammer tell you to keep quiet about the work from home job? When scammers tell you not to talk about what their offering that’s a huge red flag.
Real work from home jobs are open, honest and transparent.
It’s important to discuss any decision with family members or friends before taking any action steps.
11. They ask you to make a payment via Western Union or Moneygram
Western Union and Moneygram are legitimate companies used by people all around the world, but scammers love to exploit them because it’s possible to send and receive without being traced.
Why not take payment via PayPal or bank transfer? Because it’s easy for scammers to create fake IDs or send someone else to collect the money.
12. Are they putting pressure on you?
Scammers often get rude and angry when they think you’re asking too many questions. They’ll tell you you have to pay now to take advantage of this ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’
A genuine business making a genuine offer will never expect you to act there and then.
A classic sign of a work from home scam is that they urge you to give your details, make the payment there and then. Avoid scams like these by not allowing yourself to be pressured or manipulated.
13. Does your gut tell you it’s a scam?
However flashy the offer may seem, always listen to your gut.
Do your research, take time to make a decision, speak to friends and family members and trust your intuition – it’s normally right.
Finally, if the work-at-home employer passes all these tests but you still feel a bit queasy about the offer, trust your gut and run the other way.
Again, if you have fallen victim to an online scam, here’s how to report it.
Let’s also use the comments section below to warn others of scams they should avoid. Share your experiences below and let’s help keep the internet a safer place.
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