“Work at home” scams – Know Them and Avoid Them

“Work at home” scams have continued to blight the Internet for decades. People keep looking for a way to make extra money online whereas others keep selling get rich quick schemes to lure the same people in.

Not much has changed about how these websites operate. They all tend to have loud and in your face claims about how you can make thousands of dollars every week with little work and no prior experience or special skill.

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Some of the classic examples of “work at home” scams are: Data entry, envelope stuffing and product assembly.

The important thing to note is that you can actually find a legitimate data entry job. There are plenty of people doing such assignments on fiverr.com and other freelance websites.

The clink of a scam sounds when someone promises you lots of money for seemingly innocuous work.

How to spot a “work-at-home” scam

Here are some red flag/warning signs that herald all “work at home” scams:

  1. Promise to get rich quick. 
  2. Make money with little effort. 
  3. Nature of the job is innocuous. You don't really understand what you are suppose to do. 
  4. Promise of thousands of dollars a month, but no special skills or experience required. 
  5. No physical address/phone number for the website making the offer. 
  6. Required to pay a fee to join the so-called work at home opportunity.

Basically, don’t get taken in by a call to make easy money.

Work at home scam offers

Difference between a scam and the real thing

You should also know that many “work at home” scams operate on the demise of the real and actually work.

For example, medical transcription is a legitimate work at home job. There are many people who do transcription work from home and make a decent living out of it. However a scam website will make it sound like a get rich quick scheme. They will ask you to pay them a registration fee in return for which they claim they will show you how to rake in the cash.

It doesn't work like that. In real life people doing transcription work have training or skill and work for well know companies. Specialised transcription like medical and legal transcription jobs prefer to hire trained people.

If this is the kind of work you are interested in, training is not hard to come by. If you are confident of your typing skills you can even start off with basic assignments on a website like fiverr.com.

Difference between a scam and ‘how-to’ guides and e-books

There is one more thing. You must learn to spot and those are the how-to guides and e-books. These guides are not “work-at-home” scams. They are instructions, manual or a complete tutorial for making money online through a particular method.

It is possible that sometimes these websites also sound over enthusiastic about the potential of making money through their professed method. However, the information is real.

For example, if we send you to a page that teaches you to earn with a “home-based woodworking business”, it's not a scam.

Most of these e-guides are more expensive than regular books on the same subjects because they have extra resources to offer. For example, the “guide to woodworking business” includes plans for all 500 bestselling crafts and furniture.

The difference between these guides and scams is that these guides show you a way to on an income with a real method. They will not show you are get rich quick scheme. For example, blogging is a real way of making money online and millions of people all over the world do it.

At the end of the day:

  • avoid any offer that looks too good to be true, 
  • where you don't really understand what you will be doing, and getting paid an unreasonably large amount of money doing it. 
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 
  • If it sounds too easy, it’s definitely not.

How to find the genuine work at home opportunities

If you are serious about earning money from home, stop looking for shortcuts and an easy way out.

Not to say that there are no simple ways to make extra money online. A great example is “paid for your opinions” offers. Anyone can sign up with paid research panels and earn extra cash and awards on the side just by sharing their opinions through surveys.

Then there is fiverr.com. People are doing a range of activities and getting paid for it on this website. Many of them are “skills and experience independent”.

People distribute flyers, pose with placards, record video reviews etc. This is besides the designers, writers and musicians who are offering their special skills on the same platform.

Look for real opportunities and ways to work from home. Either use the skill set like writing, blogging et cetera. Or explore something new.

Learn something new.

If you cannot find an actual opportunity, the Internet is still a great place to get information and resources you need to start something. For example, if you are interested in sewing, you may not be able to find a sewing job of choice. But you can certainly find a complete and comprehensive guide on how to start a swing business from home.

Explore yourself.

Find out what you would like to do. And find a possible way to do it.

The real ways that people make money online

Many people come with the ideology that the Internet can somehow make their money in an unconventional way. It can, but it cannot make you rich in a month.

The real and conventional ways in which people make money online include:

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  1. Blogging. 
  2. Writing. 
  3. Graphic designing. 
  4. Starting a business. 
  5. Selling a product and other things on eBay and Etsy. 
  6. Self publishing an e-book or a guide. 
  7. Creating a digital product like an e-book or a guide. 
  8. Selling other people's products for a commission by joining affiliate networks like Commission Junction and Clickbank. 
  9. Editing and proofreading. 
  10. Joining freelance websites. 
  11. Offering business to business services like SEO, website designing. 
  12. Doing an assortment of jobs on fiverr.com. And the list goes on.

All of the above are great ways of making money online and all of them require hard work and dedication before you start seeing the results.

What the Better Business Bureau has to say about “work-from-home” scams

On a final note, here are some helpful links to articles on the website of the better business bureau. These articles will shed even more light on the true nature of “work at home” scams. You will also learn how to take recourse against a business that has scammed you. You can file an official complaint and in many cases get your money back if you have lost it to our fraudulent business.

Thankfully, due to efforts of the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Postal Service, several of these illegitimate websites have been shut down in the recent years.

  1. http://www.bbb.org/new-york-city/get-consumer-help/articles/work-at-home/
  2. http://www.bbb.org/blog/2015/04/how-to-spot-a-work-at-home-scam/
  3. http://www.bbb.org/blog/2013/06/10-ways-to-spot-work-at-home-scams/
  4. http://www.bbb.org/council/news-events/lists/bbb-scam-alerts/
  5. http://www.bbb.org/blog/2015/01/work-at-home-scam-targets-college-students/
  6. http://www.bbb.org/boston/industry-tips/read/tip/work-at-home-scams-210/
  7. http://www.bbb.org/blog/2013/05/do-your-homework-before-signing-up-for-work-at-home/
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