How to Spot a Work at Home Scam

by A.D Paterson on 18/11/2010

The work at home scam has destroyed the lives of many people looking for a way out of the debit ridden existence they’ve had to become used to when the economy takes a downturn.

Being able to work at home is a dream that’s within the grasp of so many people these days. It has been possible for many years but, with the increase in the take up of the internet, and the opportunities that arise from it, more and more people are starting to live the dream – but it’s not a sweet dream for all of them.

In this article we’re going to have a look at some of the things to be aware of when you’re trying to figure out if you may be falling for a work at home scam.

Some of the more common work at home scams that people will know about are the envelope stuffing ‘job’ and another ‘opportunity’ that has you building small toys and sending them back to the company that supplied the components.

The first thing you should probably ask yourself about both of these is: how could this be more profitable for them to outsource than it would be to have a part-time employee doing it? The answer is, generally, if this were a legitimate business it wouldn’t be more profitable to do.

It could be argued that they don’t pay as much as they would to an actual employee but, with so many people doing the work, and the costs of the shipping, the amount they would actually be paying for outsourced workers to do the job would be more expensive.

What usually happens is that you do the work; they reject what you’ve done for them, meaning they don’t have to pay you a thing. What’s it cost them? Just the cost to advertise – but what you’re stuffing is usually the advertising to get more people to join – and the cost to send you the work.

If you’re asked for money upfront – 99% of the time that’s the only money that will change hands. Some places may have a genuine reason to charge a small fee i.e. if they have to ship you bulky manuals etc, but generally you wouldn’t go into a ‘real world’ job and offer to pay them to work there, especially if there’s no guarantee of keeping the job and making a living from it.

Here are 3 more things that should make you start to question if it’s just a work at home scam:

1. Are they (if you’re in the US) listed with the Better Business Bureau? Not all legitimate companies are, but if there have been complaints in the past you’ll find that they have been made known to them.

Other countries will have similar agencies that you can check with e.g. Trading Standards in the UK, so don’t think that there’s no way of checking out how creditable the company is.

2. Are they asking you to provide personal information? Really, there’s no reason why they should be asking for a lot of personal information.

They may need to have some details in order to pay you, or so as they can provide the correct information to the various tax departments but, if you haven’t been able to establish that they are a legitimate company, give them up as another company pushing a work at home scam.

3. Are they offering a quick and easy way to make money from home? Working, no matter what you actually have to do to complete it, is never as quick and easy as these people would have you believe.

All jobs require some sort of effort if you’re going to earn a decent income. Some may seem quicker and easier because they’re something you enjoy doing but, watch out for the companies promising to make you wealthy overnight, it just doesn’t happen.

Reshipping is another work at home scam that has become quite popular. This is where you’re sent something, and asked to send it on to a foreign address. The money seems good, and it’s not difficult – but have you ever wondered what’s being sent on to the other person? Is the money worth being charged with handling stolen goods? How would you prove you had no knowledge of what was in the packages?

These are just some of the work at home scams that are circulating; many websites publish lists of new ones as they appear, so it’s always worth typing in the name of the company offering the ‘work’ into your favourite search engine and including the word ‘scam’ after the name.

So there we have it; a few important tips on how to spot a work at home scam.

Check as many places as possible to see if they’re a legitimate company. Put the company name followed by the word ‘scam’ to see what other people’s experiences have been.

Don’t giveaway personal information to a company you haven’t established as being legit, and avoid ones where you have to pay them for a start up kit.

Last, but not least, if the money you’ll be getting, for the work you’re supposed to be doing, seems too good to be true, you can be pretty sure that it is.

Also, before you get totally paranoid, just remember, not everything is going to be a work at home scam.

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