Working from home has become an increasingly sought-after employment option. After all, eliminating the commute and enjoying the comforts and conveniences of home are pretty ideal. And while there are many legitimate work-at-home job opportunities available, the growing popularity comes with, you guessed it, more scams. Providing personal information to a fraudster posing as an employer could put you in danger of losing money and other assets. Here are a few ways you can identify a real work-at-home job and avoid a costly work-at-home scam.
- A lack of detail. If a job posting leaves you with more questions than answers, chances are it lacks credibility. Missing contact information, requests to send money for your application to be processed or claims of being “risk-free” can all be significant red flags. Most legitimate companies do not charge job applicants and business opportunities are never entirely free of risk.
- The too-good-to-be-true job offer. Many work-at-home scams will promote ways to get rich quick. Some of them are classic schemes that have been around for years, while others are just starting to emerge, but ALL of them should be approached with caution. Here are six of the most common scams to watch out for:
- Medical billing
- Envelope stuffing
- Starting an internet business
- Mystery shopping
- Survey schemes
- Direct sales, pyramid schemes or multilevel marketing (Some of these are the hardest to spot because there are many that are on-the-level, some of the most popular of which include selling beauty and skincare products, weight loss products, herbal supplements, candles, cookware and cleaning supplies.)
- Out-of-the-blue emails and online ads. Jobs found in internet ads or sent via email are almost never true job opportunities. Companies hiring for real work-from-home jobs are looking for qualified, reliable candidates—a search that often requires a time-consuming screening process. Those casting a wide net by using Google, search engine ads or social media advertising aren’t investing the time because they don’t care to actually find a qualified candidate, they are just looking for your information!
What you can do
As you spend more time vetting work-at home job opportunities, the tell-tale signs of a work-at-home scam will become easier to spot. Until then, there are a few ways you can protect yourself from unnecessary risk:
- Keep a clear head. Any lucrative job offer seems attractive at first glance, but ask yourself one question: How will the promoters of the job opportunity be profitable when they are paying you so much money for so little work? Use common sense when evaluating a work-at-home job and don’t let your emotions (or wallet) steer you in the wrong direction. If they have to label the opportunity as “legitimate,” it is most likely anything but.
- Check ‘em out. Do your research to find the physical location of the job promoter and call them. Use social media and internet searches to find their website, history, employees and reviews about the company. This is a good practice for any job, but especially important when it comes to avoiding work-at-home scams.
- Use traditional channels. Rely on job boards, job search engines and newspapers to find your next job opportunity. Once you find a job that interests you, go to the company’s website to confirm the posting is there as well. This also gives you an opportunity to learn a bit more about the position and the company.
How Verve can help
If you think your Verve account is at risk because of a work-at-home or any other type of scam, call Verve at 800.448.9228. One of our team members can help check your account for purchases you did not make and guide you on how to safeguard your account against fraud.
It’s Verve’s goal—in line with our guiding seven Cooperative Principles—to provide education, training and information to help our members stay financially fit. Verve is committed to keeping our members educated when it comes to their finances by providing details on financial risks and ways to stay safe. Help your friends and family stay safe against work-at-home scams by sharing this blog post.