Work at Home Job Scams


Working from home is a luxury, but sometimes it is more than that. At times it is a necessity. For some persons it is a source of extra cash, while for others it is the only source of income. For these reasons, the facility has become very popular. Unfortunately, however, it plays right into the hands of unscrupulous persons who invent work at home job scams, to swindle unsuspecting participants of cash they might not even have readily. Single moms may be particularly vulnerable to these scams since they sometimes seem like the PERFECT job for a single mom struggling with finances. That’s not to say there are not some legit work from home programs, but care has to be taken to examine the offers to determine which ones are genuine and which ones are not. This is not an easy task, however, as scammers have become very creative and sophisticated in camouflaging their intent. One thing that is common to all the scams is that all the pitches sound the same.

Common Work From Home Scams

Scammers are smart enough to set up websites claiming to reveal job scams and direct persons to ‘legitimate’ jobs which are not legitimate at all. A good thing to bear in mind is the old adage that suggests that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. Some of the scams include –

Processing rebates

This is a type of data entry scam which pays money for just completing online forms. The program software has to be purchased for a tidy sum, but all that is received is information which could have been had for free somewhere else. Also, rebates could be processed with victims’ funds, but those funds are never reimbursed.

Google work at home scams

These scams may ask for payment of a nominal fee of $2, for example, but end up charging victims’ credit cards huge sums. Some of them even promise earning large sums with little effort using Google Adsense, but in reality Adsense business building is time consuming.

Home assembly or envelope stuffing

These are outright work at home scams. Usually a fee has to be paid for the inventory of envelopes which then have to be stuffed or assembled as directed. When the work is returned with the expectation of payment, the company declares that the work was not up to their ‘standards’ which are never given.

Directories of business opportunities or business software

Legitimate directories, books, and software for starting online businesses can be obtained at libraries, booksellers and software companies. Those that are only advertised on Google ads, websites, or in search engines, usually do not deliver what they promise, and neither can they be physically contacted for assistance.

Anything involving wiring money or cashing checks

In this scam, companies send checks to persons who must retain some of it and wire the remainder back to them under some guise. These checks are usually phony, however, and so they bounce in the accounts, leaving a debt which the victim has to absorb.

Direct selling or multilevel marketing (MLM)

While there are reputable companies which do use multilevel marketing to sell their high quality products, there are some which either sell questionable products or overemphasize recruitment. This is what makes them pyramid schemes or work at home scams.

Pyramid schemes

These focus more on building down lines than on selling products, since the basis for payment is hinged on recruiting others. Some of them involve posting ads online or distributing flyers.

Online surveys

While these may not be outright scams, they are not as glamorous as they appear to be, and do not earn the required bucks fast enough to receive a payment. There are a few legit programs out there, but just keep in mind you need to be realistic about the potential earnings. You won’t be earning 300 dollars a day filling out surveys, but more like a fraction of that. For some, the extra money might be something to consider, but don’t think you are going to get a full time wage.

Medical billing

These scams require payment for the software, training, and technical support needed to help prospects build a medical billing business. They propose to find clients for their prospects, since doctors will hire their services even if they are inexperienced. The reality is that the competition is hot among large companies that are already well established.

Mystery shopping

Again there are legitimate mystery shopper jobs. Those, however, that require payment for inclusion on lists, should be carefully scrutinized. More elaborate mystery shopper jobs require cashing checks and wiring the money. That activity should be avoided.

Data entry or call centers

These can be legitimate, but some of them are scams. So-called recruiters, who require payment for sourcing one of these jobs, are suspect. Some data entry scams are affiliate marketing opportunities that are full of misleading advertising and promises of huge earnings. It should be borne in mind that it is difficult for a turnkey operation to build a website and attract traffic that results in sales, as they propose to do. http://workathomemoms.about.com/od/workathomescams/a/Data-Entry-Scams.htm.

Other typical work at home scams involve –

  1. Business start-up kits,
  2. Becoming product re-sellers or wholesalers, and
  3. Stock trading systems.

Telling the Difference Between Legit Jobs and Scams

Here are some tips in learning to tell the difference between the legitimate jobs and the scams:

Use common sense

Don’t trust companies that offer a lot of returns for very little work effort. Everybody goes into business to make a profit, and paying out a lot cuts into their profits. Beware, also, of companies which promote themselves as ‘legitimate jobs’. Chances are they are not.

Make careful checks

Do not send funds to companies without first checking them out with a ‘fine tooth comb’. Make sure they are legitimate and do not have complaints lodged against them.

Check out the Job Listings

Find out if there is a salary or if payment is made on commission. Enquire, also, about how and how often payment is made. Find out what kind of equipment and materials are required for the job.

Getting rich quickly will not happen

Do not fall for listings that promise or even guarantee financial success, wealth, or the opportunity to become rich quickly. Offers of high income for doing only part time work should be avoided. It is not likely to happen.

Avoid job opportunities on search engines and some websites

It should be borne in mind that companies hiring for genuine work at home jobs are seeking qualified, reliable persons, and screening job applicants takes a lot of time. The ones advertised on Google or other search engines are not likely to be for real.

Don’t pay for job opportunities

In reality, employers don’t charge employees to work for them – they pay them instead. The scammers ask for money, since the businesses are expected to have costs for starting up. However, a real home business is carefully planned and researched, not bought online and unseen. Do not pay for kits to start a business or for a work at home directory.

Check references

When in doubt about the legitimacy of a company, request references. These could be other employees or contractors who have done work for the company. They should be contacted and interviewed about the profit potential of the job.

Think about it!

As mentioned before, usually if it sounds too good to be true, chances are it is. Job offers should be read very carefully, because there could be traps hidden in them, such as requests for applicants’ bank account information.

Report scams

If scamming has occurred, it should be reported promptly. Victims’ banks and other relevant authorities should be notified. These authorities include:

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) – This Center works in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). The IC3 accepts complaints about online Internet crimes. When filing a complaint, the following information needs to be submitted:

  • Complainant’s name, mailing address, and telephone number.
  • Name, address, telephone number, web address – if available – of the defrauding organization.
  • Specific details about the occurrence of the defrauding.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – This organization is the consumer protection agency of the United States, and it is responsible for collecting complaints about identity theft, companies, and business practices.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) – This organization receives complaints online. A company’s name or web site may be entered into the Bureau’s search box, and information should be received as to whether complaints have been filed against a company. Also, if the company has a record with the Bureau that is not satisfactory, that information will be revealed.

Final Word on Work From home Job Scams

Work at home job scams are prevalent today, and scammers very cleverly find ways to camouflage the illegitimacy of their offers. Any legitimate job can be scammed. The difference is detected when what is promised is not delivered, or payment is requested for information or entry into the job. Scammers fraudulently try to make victims wire money to them, sometimes from bogus checks sent to the victims. Perhaps in situations like those, the persons required to lodge those checks should wait and ensure that the check is bona fide, before wiring their personal funds to any destination.

Examples of job scams, including offers for payroll assistants and personal assistants, are reported on this site http://jobsearch.about.com/u/ua/jobsearchscams/jobscams.htm. They should be carefully read and noted.

Note, you might want to check out our Job Resources for Moms section for jobs for mom info. Also take a good look at singlemoms.org’s work at home jobs for single mothers section — it’s got a HUGE number of job ideas for moms looking to work from home.


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