How to Spot a Work at Home Scam
By Cassie Phillips
I was so excited when my husband found a job that allowed me to stay at home with my daughter. After some time though, I decided I wanted to work at home so I could help save money for some goals we had in the future.
I did a lot of research, actually, months of research. In my searches I found many different ways to make money, but most places I found only paid pennies for the work I did. Making $10 for a whole days work just wasn’t worth it. Then I came across freelance sites and I thought just maybe this could be what I was looking for, and eventually it panned out, but not before dealing with scammers.
1. Watch out for job offers out of nowhere. I had signed up on 3 different freelance sites because I didn’t know which one would work for me or that I would like the best. I was so excited when I got my first job offer after only being on the site for 5 hours. I should have known it was too good to be true, but I was still excited. This is something you want to watch for because many of these sites have a way for you to be rated on your work, unfortunately these scammers specifically target those who are new to the site. The reason for this is they think you don’t have the experience at spotting a scam so they will be able to trick you.
2. High pay for easy work. You remember how I said I was excited to get my first job offer? Well, after getting the email, I went straight to the site to check it out, and they were offering to pay $25-$30 per hour for simple data entry! Really, I am a nurse and I didn’t make that working at the hospital!! Well, the reality is, unless you are established with your company when you decide to work from home, you are not going to make very good money. There are rare instances, but you have to look at the work you are doing. If you are doing data entry you might make $10 per hour to start, but that is even generous. If you are designing a website from scratch, yeah, you may get paid $25 per hour. Just make sure the amount matches the work.
3. No “formal” interview. I put formal in quotes because there can’t really be a formal or traditional interview if you are working online. With that being said, most companies that are hiring will want to talk to you on the phone or via Skype or another method to know that you are a real person. It is a red flag when they don’t want to talk to you personally. The interview for this position was held on Google Hangouts. Now, if you are doing small work for someone and it’s not a big company, or just a one time job, they may not want to talk to you, don’t count them out right away, just know that this combined with several other things can mean it’s a scam.
4. Can’t answer questions. I made it all the way through the interview before I realized it was a scam; one of the things that raised a red flag was when they couldn’t answer my questions. I ask a lot of questions because I want to know what I will be doing and how I will be doing it. So, I asked a question and they didn’t answer it completely, so I asked again, and it was the same, scripted answer. If you ask a question and they can’t give you a straight answer, it’s likely it’s a scam.
5. You have to buy something or send money. The final thing that happened that finally made me do more research was when I was told a check would be sent to me and once I cashed it I needed to buy software from a “sister company”. (This is all from what I found researching, as I never received the check.) Now, what happens is you get the check and put it in your bank. It is sent via FedEx and you have to sign for the package, so they know when it is delivered. They contact you and tell you how to go about buying the software; you buy the software, and them the check doesn’t clear. You are now out about $350.
My advice to you is to do your research and follow your gut! These people are very convincing and sophisticated. The person who contacted me sent me to a website for a healthcare company. The website looked like a legitimate website and a quick Google search sent me to several LinkedIn profiles for individuals who worked for the company. It even took me to a Facebook page and Twitter profile.
I did this after having the “interview” I just didn’t feel right about the whole situation and decided to do some more digging. Finally after searching for the individuals name specifically did it take me to a site named Scam Watchers. Several people had posted about this and one person actually posted the interview they had with the same person, and it matched my interview word-for-word. That’s when I knew, because even if certain things have to be covered, there will be some variation from person to person.
There are many other things that may point to a scam, but I just wanted to speak from personal experience for you. Thankfully I wasn’t scammed, and I hope this can keep you from getting scammed to.
Have you ever been scammed or almost scammed? How and when did you know it was a scam?
About the Author: Cassie is a work-at-home wife, mom, and nurse who has personal experience dealing with scammers. She enjoys spending time with her daughter and doing crafts and sharing her knowledge with others. In her spare time she can be found writing about her life among other tings on her blog at www.alloutblog.net.
Image Credit: License: Creative Commons image source