The growth of telecommunications as well as a desire to cut costs while retaining valuable employees has contributed to the expansion of telecommuting. These numbers give credence to the idea that families can balance work and family by earning an income from home.
However, finding a telecommuting job is not an easy task. Scam artists with their ads for easy money licking envelopes have created an illusion that work-at-home jobs are abundant and all that one needs to do is sign up. Work-at-home wannabes waste a fortune in money looking for “THE LIST’ containing the legitimate work-at-home companies. So while millions of Americans work at home, millions more still lose money to work-at-home scams.
When looking for work-at-home jobs, here are four tips to keep in mind to evaluate their legitimacy:
1. NEVER send money for a work-at-home job. I have seen many ads that tell you the money is to process your application or cover expenses. It’s nonsense. You would think your boss was nuts if he charged to put you on payroll or for paperclips. I have even seen an online scam, which says they know you are too smart to fall for the old “fee is to cover expenses”. Instead, they charge you to maintain the servers and website. That’s bogus too! Look at all the affiliate programs that don’t charge you anything so that you can market their products and earn income. And then there are the programs in which you have to pay them so you can place their ads and earn a commission if someone responds. Again, if you want to waste your time placing free ads, join a free affiliate program instead. If you only remember one rule of thumb about work-at-home jobs, remember this: Never, ever, send money for a work-at-home job.
2. Beware of jobs from companies with websites posted on free hosting sites. We are talking about jobs not home businesses in this case. While a home business person may promote their opportunity on a free domain, a company that is offering employment should have a website with its own domain. Any company that cannot afford to pay for web hosting or a domain can’t afford to hire you. 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. Beware of email address from commercial or free accounts. 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 clue to proceed with caution.
4. When searching your local classified ads, work-at-home opportunities with an 800# are not usually legitimate jobs. Local companies don’t use 800#’s in their ads. If you are temped anyway and call, you will usually be asked for money, which if you remember rule #1, is a sure sign it’s not a job. These ads usually sell overpriced work-at-home books or schemes.
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 people to sit home and stuff envelopes, glue earrings, 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.
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.
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.