It is important to understand that work-from-home scams have been around long before the work-on-line scams existed. They were often advertisements that promised millions for doing nothing, just send in your money to find out how. The whole idea of working at home is a turn off to some for this reason.
Here are some ways to tell whether a business opportunity is real, or simply too good to be true.
1. If the opportunity is real, they’ll have a real business website with a real business email address at the minimum, not a Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail address. You should easily be able to look up the people and the name of the business to find out more information.
2. Promises of Riches Overnight – Any plan that claims you’ll become rich overnight is a scam. It’s just not going to happen. Working from home at a job, or running your own business, requires skill, work, and more work to make money. You’re not going to just set up a business and do nothing and get paid.
3. They Ask for Money Up Front (and Now) – Many MLMs (Multi-Level Marketing) do ask for money up front, which is a business investment. Even if you do not like MLMs, some of them are legitimate companies with real opportunity. However, some jobs or opportunities only want your money. You should have plenty of time to do research before giving anyone money. Never pay for a job, although an investment in a business opportunity is considered normal.
4. You Feel Pressured to Act Now – If you’ve been contacted by someone making a lot of promises to you about making tons of money and claiming you must act right now or lose out forever, it’s a scam. A real opportunity is going to be there tomorrow.
5. It Has Anything to Do with Western Union – Sorry to name a place like this but it’s true; if you need to use Western Union to send money to anyone, run. In fact, any type of money-changing, bank-involved delivery system is usually a scam and it’s not only that; it’s illegal and you could end up in jail.
6. It Sounds Too Good to Be True – You know it in your gut that it’s just too good to be true, but you are tempted. Stop. Take some time to research the company and not just the people and places they give you to research. Do your due diligence and walk away if you can’t prove they’re legitimate.
7. Random Email Offering Position You Did Not Apply For Directly – This happens sometimes when you apply for or fill out real job opportunities online. They get the information online and then they send you unsolicited jobs or offers of advice for a fee. It’s no different than a phone call during dinner making you promises. Delete.
8. They Offer Outlandish Pay for Low Wage Position Titles – This is a common sign of a scam. You’ll see the advertisement on a seemingly legitimate website that promises a lot of money for many different positions that just do not earn that kind of money. Be realistic. You’re not going to make $50 dollars an hour as a receptionist.
Most importantly, pay attention to your gut. If it feels fishy, it probably is. Some of these scammers only want you to fill out their applications so they can steal your identity. To protect yourself if you’re in the USA, get a free employment identification number (EIN) from the IRS so that you don’t give out your social security number. Other countries may have similar set-ups, but you’ll have to check. Otherwise, don’t blindly give out this information to strangers.