Developing Your Work-at-Home ‘Scam Radar’
The work at home market is huge, and growing everyday. You can hardly be online for one minute before you’re confronted with business opportunities and offers of home based work.
For the ‘newbies’ to the work-at-home market, here are a few tips to help you avoid the scams …
1. ENVELOPE STUFFING IS A SCAM.
You’ve probably seen those mouth-watering ads that tempt you with the promise of $2 (or $3 or $4) for each and every envelope you stuff.
Does the phrase, ‘Too good to be true’ come to mind?
It should. In this technologically-advanced era, we have envelope stuffing machines that can do the work cheaper and faster than hiring a home worker. Even without a machine, why would a company pay someone $2000 to stuff 1000 envelopes, when they can pay any number of willing local workers the same MONTHLY salary to stuff unlimited envelopes?
This is how it works: Normally you pay a ‘startup’ or ‘materials’ fee – or sometimes the scammer states that the fee is to ‘make sure you’re serious’.
You stuff the envelopes with a flyer or circular that attempts to scam another poor soul into parting with the startup fee.
In all these years online, I have never met anyone who’s made even a single dollar with envelope stuffing.
2. STAY AWAY FROM ASSEMBLY WORK
It sounds so reasonable. You pay for materials and instructions. They send you a kit. You assemble the item, and the company buys it back from you to sell to their own customers.
Reality: you pay the startup fee. You get the kit and assemble the item. The company rejects your assembled product because it ‘doesn’t meet quality standards’. You can stuck with a ton of junk, which you may or may not be able to resell to customers you find on your own.
Are there legitimate assembly work opportunities? Possibly. A healthy dose of skepticism will help to protect you from potential scams.
3. “NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY” = BE CAREFUL!
“No experience necessary” is most often termed, “Entry level position” in a real job listing. It isn’t too likely that a company would hire someone with no experience to work from home because:
= Training them would be difficult. = Companies tend to prefer telecommuters who have *proven* that they are capable, independent workers who don’t need supervision.
Sure, there are legitimate companies that will train you. However, companies that are offering telecommuting work are likely looking for qualified prospects with proven track records.
4. DO THE MATH.
There are loads of job postings that state that you can earn several thousands a month, working 20 hours a week doing typing or data entry or some other administrative work.
One I saw recently claimed that the company would find all of your clients for you. You work 4-5 hours a day and make $5000/month.
Let’s look at the math: Assume you work 5 hours a day, Monday to Friday. That’s 25 hours/week or 100 hours/month. At $5000/month, you’re making a whopping $50/hour just to type!
This is not at all likely. The company could hire someone locally, pay her a monthly salary that’s LESS than that, and have her work a full week.
5. IS MONEY THE ONLY REQUIREMENT OF THE JOB?
Above all, legitimate companies are looking for people who can get the job done. They tell you what types of skills are required and what your responsibilities would be. Then they ask for your qualifications, a cover letter, a resume, and perhaps references.
Scammers, on the other hand, ask for money. So long as you send them your money, you’re instantly qualified!
6. “WORK AT HOME” IS SECONDARY TO THE JOB.
Once again, employers are looking for qualified employees or contractors. They’re *not* looking for “telecommuters”. However, one of the job “perks” may be an option to work from home.
A headline that screams, “WORK AT HOME!” will attract every would-be telecommuter, from technical people to clerical staff to sales people and stay-at-home parents. It doesn’t “pre-screen” the applicants.
On the other hand, legitimate job postings tend to list the position title, such as PROGRAMMER/ANALYST or TELEMARKETER. This helps to “qualify” the types of people who apply for the job. The company’s valuable time is then spent reviewing only potentially qualified applicants.
7. THE ONLY PERSON THAT CAN GUARANTEE A JOB IS THE EMPLOYER.
There are several websites offering access to databases of jobs (some free, some for a fee). These jobs are posted there by employers. Now, the employer is looking for a specific type of person to fill the position … if the website you’ve joined claims to be able to guarantee you a job – even though they’re not the ones doing the hiring! – then it’s time to look elsewhere.
Please remember that these tips apply to work at home jobs or opportunities. They *don’t* necessarily apply to the building of a home business! Home businesses are something else altogether, and may require you to invest at least a little money up-front. But that’s another topic for another time.
Legitimate work-at-home jobs really are out there! Just be cautious when considering any telecommuting position. Don’t assume everything you come across is legitimate — and don’t automatically assume it’s a scam, either. Be open to new possibilities and do your research. Happy hunting!
Angela is the editor of Online Business Basics, a practical, down-to-earth guide to building an Internet business on a beginner’s budget. If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love the book! Visit http://www.onlinebusinessbasics.com or request a series of 10 free reports to get you started.