10/22/2012 6:00 PM ET|
Beware these work-at-home scams
It's easy to get caught up in the job hunt when you're looking to boost your income by working at home. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Working from home is something many people are interested in doing these days, and that desire isn't limited just to those who are out of work. The U.S. Labor Bureau reports that in 2010, "multiple jobholders were nearly twice as likely to work at home as were single jobholders." With almost everyone looking for a way to cash in at home, it's important to be able to identify common job-scam scenarios and learn to protect yourself from unscrupulous individuals offering work-at-home riches.
Types of scams
While the number of ways scammers lure in unsuspecting victims is almost unlimited, there are some common job categories that are more likely to be illegitimate. Leslie Truex, the author of "The Work-at-Home Success Bible," says that these usually include:
- Envelope stuffing (mailing programs)
- Assembly work
- Gifting programs
- Email processing
- Rebate processing
- Payment processing
- Jobs that ask for money to hire you
- Businesses that don't have an evident product or service
Do your research
Regardless of the type of work you are curious about, though, there are ways to be certain you don't fall prey to shady practices. The most obvious is to become as informed as possible about a new opportunity, either through sites like the Better Business Bureau or through interviews with people listed as successful participants in the program. Due diligence is almost always the most effective way to stay out of trouble.
Avoid high-pressure pitches
Truex also recommends that job seekers be wary of any business that seems overly aggressive with its sales pitch or requires an immediate decision for enrollment. "Anytime you want to sign up to work at home today, you're at risk for being scammed," she warns. Some websites lure in the unsuspecting by insisting that an opportunity is available only to a select few job seekers, leading interested parties to jump at the position without studying it carefully. Any supposed opportunity that features a countdown timer or promises a "last chance" sale on start-up kits, for example, is likely to be a fake.
Keep your cash
Perhaps the best way to tell if an opportunity is a lie is by how much money it requires upfront. Truex and most other experts say that any cash you give up in exchange for more information on a job, a kit or a list of organizations that are hiring will most likely never be used for legitimate business. In addition to skirting inflated fees for things such as envelopes, CDs and access to databases, job seekers should steer clear of offering their own financial accounts or cash. "Never use your personal bank account to help a company do business," urges Truex.
Pursuing the job of your dreams
So as a job seeker, what should you look for in a work-at-home opportunity? Keeping your skills and interests in perspective is one way to keep your options reasonable. If a job is for shipping and receiving, but you have no logistics training and the company is still pursuing you, for example, that's not likely to be a good (or reputable) match. Start by doing an assessment of what you're already good at, then research to see if you can sell a related good or service that is in high demand. Also, check reputable websites that offer work-at-home jobs from reputable companies on a regular basis. For example, Work at Home Mom Revolution regularly highlights openings for home-based customer service representatives, auditors and designers, with no money required to apply.
The bottom line
Being informed is still the best defense against fraud. Don't rush into any job without evidence that it's a good fit, and never jump at a promise of fast cash or unrealistic earnings in exchange for little time or skill investment. Good jobs are out there, but as with any employment opportunity, they require talent and effort to obtain.
More from Investopedia.com:
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
HERE'S HOW THEY WORK. tHEY ARE USING LEGITIMATE COMPANY NAMES AS FRONTS. tHEY WILL SEND YOU A CHECK TO DEPOSIT INTO YOUR ACCOUNT, HAVE YOU SEND A SLIGHTLY LESS AMOUNT TO A SO CALLED " PURCHASE WAREHOUSE" WHICH THEY GIVE YOU THREE PHONE NUMBERS AND HAVE YOU ORDER COMPUTER EQUIPMENT FOR THE JOB THEY ARE HIRING YOU FOR. THEY ASK YOU TO SEND THE MONEY EXPRESS. AS SOON AS YOU DEPOSIT THE CHECK INTO YOUR ACCOUNT. A COUPLE OF DAYS LATER YOU FIND OUT FROM THE BANK THE CHECK IS NO GOOD SO THEY HAVE USED YOUR PERSONAL FUNDS TO CLEAR THE MONEY YOU SENT. yOU CALL THE PERSON" HIRING SUPERVISOR" AND TELL HIM THE CHECK IS BAD. tHEN THEY SEND YOU ANOTHER CHECK . tHE BANK CHECKS IT OUT AND TELLS YOU THAT CHECK IS NO GOOD. yOU CALL THE SAME GUY AND THEY SEND YET ANOTHER CHECK AND ASK YOU TO OPEN A NEW ACCOUNT WITH IT. iT IS ALSO A BAD CHECK. aLL THREE CHECKS WERE WRITTEN FROM THREE DIFFERENT BANKS. tOTAL SCAM. WATCH OUT. i GOT TOOK FOR 1300.00 BUCKS AND FBI WONT INVESTIGATE UNLESS ITS OVER 5000.00 NOW I HAVE TO PAY THE BANK THE REMAINDER OF THE BALANCE OWED. TOTAL CRAP.
*sigh* I went to the Work at Home Mom Revolution site listed above. The first link I clicked on there took me right to a scam. So sad. You think you'd have a reliable source listed in an article here. Talk about doing more research...
I've been looking for a job to do from home for YEARS and all I've ever come up with is scams.
It's like slamming your head against a wall. So frustrating!
claim you'll make $50,000 this month. I say "give me $1,000
this WEEK and I'll be happy!" If you agree then visit this
site to see something real that is working for people NOW:
If you are looking for a online job and you are a Filipino citizen this is the right opportunity for you. Try UEP.
for more details, kindly visit http://www.unemployedpinoys.com/
Thanks for sharing this inspiring article! Working from home is great, but it can cause a lot of distraction. Here are a few tips to help you stay focused while working from home: .
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