Avoiding Common Work From Home Scams

by WorkFromHome on April 11, 2012

Starting a home business continues to be a popular option among average consumers, and its draw is clear: in an economic downturn, it’s far better to work from home and control your fate than to take the risk of heading to the office and getting a pink slip. But with any increasingly popular industry comes a large number of scams that take advantage of those who are simply looking to improve their living situation and live one of their lifelong dreams. These scams charge high fees, steal customer data, and can be a disaster for the average aspiring home business owner. So, what do these scams look like and how can they be avoided?

Just a Small Fee to Get Started!

The simple fact is that most online employment opportunities are not fee-based for those who are actually completing the work. These companies typically charge job-supplies (such as those who place an ad for a freelance graphic design project) when the work is completed, instead of charging those who are volunteering their talents. Many of the most pervasive online work-from-home scams advertise to customers that they can get started with a great earning opportunity for just a small amount of money up front — and a small, recurring monthly fee for the privilege of accessing their exclusive pool of work that needs to be completed. Freelancers are especially susceptible to these scams and they should be alert for a company more focused on boosting its own bottom line than that of their independent contractors.

While it’s true that some job banks and opportunities may charge small fees, this practice should always raise eyebrows — and suspicion. Read the details carefully.

Are They Employing Your or Supplying You with Materials?

Using a crafty vocabulary, many online job scams will promise to employ future business owners with their unique opportunity, only to charge them a nominal fee and then send them marketing materials in the mail. These materials, according to the company, are to get the customer started — but they must seek out any clients or customers themselves instead of relying on the company to which they just paid a fee to “get employed.” This is one of the leading ways for scam artists to make money and profit off of average home business job seekers.

You Never Get Paid in Advance — Ever

Another common tactic among online job scams is that they’ll offer to pay you in advance for your work, so long as you provide them with the essential details they require in order to make the fund available. This usually includes your address and phone number, as well as checking account and credit card details. Once this information has been submitted, the company promises to make an advance payment — but it never does.

Instead, it often steals your information and takes a payment for itself directly out of your checking account in a type of identity theft and fraud that can be highly expensive. You’ve never been paid in advance for your work in a traditional job, have you? The same rules apply online. Do the work, then get the compensation, and be cautious in the meantime.

Look for Testimonials from Other Site Users

Any work from home opportunity worth the time and investment it takes to get stated will feature testimonials from its satisfied clients. Their goal is not simply to make money, but to market themselves and prove that they’re work both your time and the time of those who are supplying work to the freelancers or virtual workers they contract with. If testimonials seem forced or fraudulent, or if there isn’t a full name or contact information for each client who gave an opinion of the site’s services, it’s likely that the site is a fraud and so are the testaments to its usefulness. Use common sense here, and always remember that real work from home opportunities will offer up the opinions of real home-based contractors.

Research the Site’s Guarantees for its Employed or Contracted Workers

If you think you’ve found a legitimate source of online employment from home, and it does charge a small fee or has other requirements, look for a guarantee or some form on the website. A reliable company will offer a solid money-back or satisfaction guarantee to its clients, though it may never have to use it. But an unreliable, potentially scam-pushing company will offer no such guarantee and any work you submit — or funds you pay — will be lost forever and subject to their own whims. Always be sure there is a form of legal recourse that holds the company accountable for its actions after you’ve become a part of their operation.

Common Sense is a Virtue

Finally, it’s important to employ a little common sense when investigating these “amazing” earning opportunities as advertised online. If it sounds to good to be true, as the old saying goes, it probably is. While it’s certainly possible to earn a life-sustaining income while working from home, there is simply no way that any website will ever make good on an offer to help you earn tens of thousands of dollars per month. It simply doesn’t happen, and you shouldn’t think otherwise — lest your personal information become subject to malicious and dangerous online thievery.

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