By Jennifer Forest
You’ve seen the advertisements: They are all over the Internet, often in newspapers and sometimes scrawled across a piece of paper and stuck to light posts in the city: ads with promises too good to be stuck to a power pole.
Work from home
Earn $1,000 a week
Sorting out the honest job offers or business opportunities from work-at-home scams, where you end up paying but getting nothing of value back, is difficult. I spoke with my local consumer affairs bureau agent and spent quite some time on the Internet hunting for real opportunities. After my research, I found that there are many more scams than honest opportunities. Here are some warning signs:
- Decide now. Scam sites pressure you to make a decision now. Sometimes this might be a timer clock on the bottom, saying a opportunity ends in 18 minutes. Or the site contains verbiage about what a great opportunity the job is, such as “Don’t miss out!” PayPal has also considered this issue in great depth. One warning sign it mentions on its website is similar: The “job offer” website will have a false sense of urgency.
- Pay up front. This scam is really selling you a product but dressing it up as a job or business opportunity. You have to pay up front to get the job (read: product). “It’s really simple: Everything you need to get started comes in a little box we will mail to you for $199.” You are being sold a product, not lining up jobs or projects. Don’t believe it.
- Playing on your emotions. These postings play on your weak spots: “Spend more time with your kids. Wouldn’t you like a vacation in the Sunshine State?” Scams use our emotions to cloud our better judgment.
- Does this make sense? If this is something you have never done before, you don’t know what questions to ask. Find someone who may know a bit more. For example, I know absolutely nothing about healthcare or hospitals, so if I were interested in taking up one of those medical transcription offers all over the Internet I would ask a nurse. She may have a bit more of an idea whether this is a real job and who the legitimate employers in the field are.
- Not enough information. The offers claim you can make money, sometimes a lot of money, for very little effort by using your home computer. But they don’t tell you what it is you have to do to make the money. They want you to send money or your contact details first. Sure sign of a scam there: They want your personal information.
After spending many hours looking at work-at-home “opportunities,” I came away convinced that most are scams. These sources aren’t interested in helping you find a real work-at-home job or business. They are only interested in taking your money.
There are honest opportunities out there. Good, authentic opportunities are usually the ones you create yourself. See Jennifer’s post on good money-making jobs you can do from home.
Jennifer Forest is the author of Work Women Want: Work at Home or Go Part-Time, now available on Amazon as an e-book. She is on a quest chasing the promise made to her as a teenager that women can have it all. Read more at WorkWomenWant.
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