Note: Work-At-Home Success contains advertising as well as screened work-at-home jobs and resources. Click here for full details and disclosures.

Category Archives: Scam Alert

Is It a Legitimate Work-At-Home Job or a Scam?

Is it a Legitimate Work-At-Home Job or Scam?

Despite Yahoo! and HP’s decision to bring telecommuters back to the office, the availability of work-at-home jobs continues to increase. Nevertheless, many people are still finding it difficult to find legitimate work-at-home jobs. Scam artists have created an illusion that all one needs to do is sign up and pay a fee to have a high-paying home-based job. While millions of people work at home, millions more still lose money to work-at-home scams.

Here are 4 tips to evaluating work-at-home offers to determine if it’s a job or scam:

1. Legitimate work-at-home jobs never cost money. You never have to pay to get hired. Many scammers will tell you the money is to cover their expenses, but when have you ever been charged for paperclips or to be put on payroll in a traditional job? Never! The only expenses that are okay in getting a work-at-home job are access to a quality telecommuting database and paying for a background check. That’s it. Anything else should be suspect.

2. Avoid jobs by companies whose website is on a free webhost. Any company that can’t afford web hosting probably can’t afford to hire anyone. Websites on WordPress.com (i.e. company.wordpress.com), Blogger (i.e. company.blogspot.com), Weebly (i.e. company.weebly.com) or any other site in which the company name isn’t the main domain name should be suspect.

3. Free and commercial email accounts should raise a red flag. Commercial accounts are those such as AOL or MSN. The free accounts are Yahoo or Hotmail. The only exception is Gmail, which is used by many professional solo-preneurs who hire help for their businesses. I have also worked for a few people who had AOL accounts, although this is less and less. In those cases, I knew the businesses personally, so I knew it was legit. The use of a free or commercial account is often used by scammers and biz op promoters because they’re easy to dump. So while a commercial or free account doesn’t automatically mean it’s a scam, it should be a red flag to proceed with caution.

4.  Never use your personal bank account to help a company do business. I frequently see jobs of various titles that ask you to accept “payment” or “process payments” using your bank account. In this scam, you deposit a check into your account (usually thousands of dollars), get a cashier’s check for most of the amount (you keep 10%), and send it to the “company”. Within days or weeks, the check you deposited is discovered to be bogus, and now you need to cover the thousands of dollars you sent to the “company”. Because it’s a cashier’s check, you can’t stop payment nor trace it. Further, because you deposited a fake check, you could be criminally liable.

Most people I talk to about finding a work-at-home fail to understand that work-at-home jobs are like any other job. Companies don’t pay you to sit home and stuff envelopes, assemble doo-dads, or send email. They are looking for qualified employees to fill a specific position. When searching for work, stick to job search sites, focus on your skills and experience, and remember the five rules of sniffing out the real jobs from the schemes.

Be sure to read Work-At-Home Success’ Scam Page for more information on protecting yourself. You can also check recent alerts to see new scams to avoid.

For detailed instructions and over 400 resources to find work-at-home jobs, check out Work-At-Home Success University’s Get a Work-At-Home Job.

About Leslie Truex
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
Connect with Leslie: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google + | Pinterest
Sign up for the newsletter below to get more great tools and resources.



Note: Work-At-Home Success contains advertising as well as screened work-at-home jobs and resources. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you register or buy using the link. Occasionally, WAHS publishes "Supporting Contributor" posts or paid reviews for which compensation is paid. These posts are marked as such. All opinions are my own. Click here for full details and disclosures.


How to Avoid a Pyramid Scam

How to Avoid a Pyramid Scam

A challenge to finding a work-at-home opportunity is avoiding scams. One of the most feared swindles is the pyramid scheme. Unfortunately, most people do not know what a pyramid scheme is. As a result, they pass up viable direct sales opportunities they erroneously believe are pyramids, but sometimes get caught up in Internet or “investment” schemes that are illegal pyramids.

So what is a pyramid? First, a pyramid scheme is not defined by its shape. If the shape determined legality of an organization, the government and most businesses would be illegal since the hierarchy is a pyramid. Second, the act of recruiting others into a business opportunity doesn’t automatically mean a business is a pyramid scheme. Instead, a pyramid is a scam that promises monetary benefit without a quality product or service. In an illegal network marketing scam, participants are paid to recruit new members instead of on product sales. This is where things can get confusing. While you can earn income by introducing new business builders into a network marketing company, your income should NOT be based on recruitment. Instead, legitimate income in network marketing is based on you and your team’s product and service sales. Some Internet programs try to get by this rule by having a “membership” program with junk ebooks or services to qualify as products. You can spot these because the focus is on recruiting not on providing a product or service. Be suspicious of any business that focuses on payment per recruit.

Bernie Madoff ran a pyramid scheme in which people thought they were putting their money into legitimate investments; however, Bernie did not invest the money. Instead, he “paid” initial investors with money from newer investors. I had a friend who was invited to an investment “club” whereby he could invest $5000 and the club then would help him find five other people to invest $5000. Essentially the scam promised to net $20,000 from a $5,000 investment. Sometimes these clubs are called “gifting” programs, but regardless of what they’re called, they are illegal because they promise financial gain without a product, service or legitimate investment instrument.

Ultimately, if the only way to make money is by getting others to “join”, then it’s probably a pyramid scheme. But if the income is based on the sale of a product or service, or a legitimate investment tool (i.e. stocks), then it’s probably safe. Before joining any program, do your research. Scammers are clever in their deception and will try to make their scam look legit. So don’t be afraid to investigate, ask questions and seek expert opinions before joining any money-making venture.

About Leslie Truex
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
Connect with Leslie: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google + | Pinterest
Sign up for the newsletter below to get more great tools and resources.



Note: Work-At-Home Success contains advertising as well as screened work-at-home jobs and resources. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you register or buy using the link. Occasionally, WAHS publishes "Supporting Contributor" posts or paid reviews for which compensation is paid. These posts are marked as such. All opinions are my own. Click here for full details and disclosures.