How To Avoid Work-From-Home Scams
You cannot be on the internet and not see job ads popping everywhere. On the streets, from referrals, we get job offers. Also, circumstances can shove one to search for jobs. One of such sought-after jobs could be of the work-from-home kind.
Perhaps, you recently received a work-from-home job offer that looks suspicious and you want to ensure you are not making a mistake. Or maybe, you know someone or heard distant news about an acquaintance that got scammed on the internet while applying for remote jobs.
Or maybe, you saw in the news something about the increase in cybercrime, job scammers, or a job fraudster caught.
In any case, no matter your reason(s) for being here, listed or not, you want to learn how to avoid work-from-home job scammers and you have come to the right place. You did the right thing by choosing to read up instead of running on blind faith.
Work-from-home jobs are also called remote jobs. So, you should not get confused when they are used interchangeably.
What Are Work-from-home jobs?
Work-from-home jobs as the name implies, are jobs that do not require the presence of the employee at a physical office. The employee can work from home at a convenient time.
That’s the appeal of remote jobs- the convenience. Part-timers take them as a second option or side hustle. Nursing mothers, students or unemployed could use it to keep afloat while searching for something worthwhile. The list of those that go for remote jobs is quite enormous.
A browse through the internet with our subject theme, “work-from-home jobs” as keywords will show the wide range of options the internet offers.
There is no difference between the way job scammers advertise their jobs and legitimate businesses. They place their ads online, on television, radio, even the newspapers.
You’ll find them side by side with legitimate vacancies. This is the reason, many fall into their hands. No matter how realistic these scams look, there are still ways to ensure you do not become a victim and that’s why you’re here.
Scammers have and will always find new and better ways to squeeze out money from unsuspecting patrons.
A Work-from-home Scam Example
A lady wakes up to a mail from a job site stating that her CV was reviewed and she has been shortlisted as a possible employee for M&N company as their product description writer with pay of 100dollars per project. ” Is this really happening?” She asks herself. “Dream come through!” She exclaims a moment later. Except for a week later, she cannot contact her “employer” after sending a “token” of two hundred dollars to procure some training materials. She realizes she has been scammed.
This is the story of many. It is one of many angles a job scammer use to trap victims. But, thankfully you can escape their hands.
How To Avoid Work-from-home Scams
There is one most important rule in avoiding job scammers and I want to explain this separately before going into the rest.
- Don’t Be Anxious: This is the most important rule if you want to avoid remote job scammers or any kind of scammer at all. They may randomly approach targets or send spam emails but they can almost sense the anxiety from the responses they get, knowing when to go in for the kill.
Job seekers get understandably anxious as they apply for positions especially when there are bills to foot and visions to achieve. Being jobless or in an unsatisfactory job has a way of making people feel that the world has left them behind. Then, in their bid to catch up, anxiety steps in.
Fraudsters feed on this anxiety. They almost always target these types of people. At the same time, many fraudsters have also been burst when they encounter calm job seekers.
Those who fall into the hands of work-from-home scammers would usually say they had noticed irregularities before but had been willing to look past it; to believe that this was what they wanted it to be.
The reason is simple, anxiety reduces the possibility of seeing clearly. You see what you want to see. You hear what you want to. But if you would take only another second to rethink and check again. You’d see them. So do not be anxious.
No matter how excited you get at an offer, take your time to look closer, or better still get a second pair of experienced eyes to take a look too.
- Use a Pay vs Work Scale: You should always use this scale when screening job offers you receive. That sounded strange, right? That you’d need to “screen” job offers. Well, you should get used to it. Scammers also upgrade their fraud skills but one thing they always use to catch your attention is offering high wages for little work done.
No responsible employer offer to pay more for light work or offer you positions for which you are less than qualified, with high wages! The fact is simple- employers want to get the best for their paychecks.
Don’t forget to use this scale. Be ready to whip it out at all times and also to tell yourself the truth. A job offering to pay you 50 dollars per page of an Online Thesis Typing job is very likely fraud.
- Source for the Source: Work-from-home job scammers would likely have a website which you would be referred to. In as much as these sites look like the real deal, convincing you to release your details, passwords, account information, and the likes, they may not be so. That’s for those posing as independent contractors.
Scammers posing as company contractors would create websites that look very similar to the original. A critical eye would probably spot the difference. Look at this different site URL for example, the original: www.mtnjobs.com while the fake: www.mtnjobs.site.com.
You should cross-check URLs carefully. Ask questions from the organizations confirming if the contractors belong to the company.
Please note: asking these contractors themselves to connect you with a means of verification may prove fatal (if they are fraudsters). They have ways of offering almost-real referrals.
- When approached for jobs, confirm they are jobs you applied for: Amid hundreds of job applications you sent, it is easy to lose track of them especially when they are of a similar kind. Scammers can get your mail from several sources and then approach you in the guise of a contractor, independent or independently offering your dream job.
You can avoid these scammers by always applying for jobs with a notepad where you can input brief information about the applications sent showing date, name etc.
With this list, you can screen emails sent to your inbox. When you receive emails, not from your list, you would know to proceed cautiously and when to run off as they show unprofessional signs.
- This brings us to our next point; The Unprofessional Emails: Have you ever received emails with loads of errors. They make you doubt the professionalism of the sender. Organizations and legitimate employers are very careful with their emails. They do not send emails with bad grammar, they don’t ask you to pay anything upfront and they usually want to take you to a more intensive stage like interviews or more tests. To prove your capabilities at handling the jobs or joining their organizations.
When the mail that comes with your job offer contains typical grammatical or spelling errors, you should become wary.
- Deals asking you to pay tokens before you start:
We already saw this earlier. Employers should pay their workers not the other way round. This kind of employer/contractor would usually be over-eager, assuring you that their offer is non-fictitious, or that the job is yours even when you seem less qualified. After infusing your hopes into the offer, they proceed to ask you to pay a token for materials, training materials, equipment or simply to prove your commitment to the position so they can “stop reviewing other applications.”
Illegitimate employers may not always be over-eager. Please note, that they may decide to play the hard-to-get employer, finally offering you the job and asking for the said “token”. You should not proceed with this.
- Be wary when asked for personal information: Your personal information is what it says, personal. Be careful when letting them out, especially links or inputting passwords to your financial account information. Some legitimate organizations will ask for this information. You only need to be sure that they are sincere companies.
- Never get tired of verifying any information:
If you applied for ten jobs online, there is a high chance that the last three would have less than enthusiastic application covers unlike your first three.
When this happens, you might not want to go the extra mile investigating job offers before you apply for them to accept.
In this same breath, you should be careful with job application links or posts from friends. Even information from them should be verified. You should call them first to ensure their accounts have not been compromised. This should not be seen as a lack of trust attitude. In this internet age, it is only a way of being sure.
We must state this again: Job scammers will always find new and more foolproof ways of cheating people of their hard-earned money. You can only make sure they do not make you a victim too.
You can also play your part by reporting suspicious or fraudulent offers to the cybercrime unit of your country. Where they will be shortlisted for others to be wary of.