The first step to working from home is weeding out the scams and finding the true home business or telecommute opportunities. This article by Sharon Davis was written with heart as she gives her advice to work at home Moms on avoiding scams.
The Seven Signs of a
It's a shame that there are so many people out
there trying to rip off the work-at-home job seeker. It's even
more disheartening to see them targeting the stay-at-home mom,
the retiree, and the disabled. But the fact remains; they're
out there trying to capitalize on your desire to stay home and
earn an income. And they're making good money while they're at
it, because there's no shortage of people who want so badly to
believe their claims of easy income and instant wealth.
So how are we supposed to separate the scams
from the real jobs? The legitimate business opportunities from
Your number one guide should always be your
common sense (why would a lawyer in South Africa select you to
handle his billion dollar account, I mean let's be honest!).
There are always warning signs, and here are the top seven.
1. Advertisements for "envelope stuffing", "mail
processors" and "home typists".
In all my experience in online recruiting, I
have never come across a legitimate job for an envelope
stuffer. Nor have I ever, in my life, met someone who was an
envelope stuffer. (And could you really say with any measure
of pride that you are a professional envelope stuffer?)
These advertisements are always the same. They
charge you a certain amount of money so that they can send you
detailed instructions of how to advertise for envelope
stuffers. You're selling the very same packet that you just
paid 30 bucks for, but you only get $3. There's no product,
just their self-perpetuating ads to sell more $30 packets.
Home Typists? What company needs 5,000 home
typists? If a company needs some typing done, they're not
going to advertise it on the internet where they're going to
get 10,000 replies. They're going to hire an administrative
assistant who can type a report and hand it to them- while
greeting clients and answering the phones.
That's not to say that there aren't legitimate
Data Entry jobs available. Companies often find a need for
specialized skills that can be done by a freelancer on a
contract basis. Some examples would be database work, research
projects and seasonal billing needs. But the key is that they
involve a specialized skill that their existing employees
2. They're asking for a fee.
If it's supposed to be a job, how on earth do
they justify charging a fee? I've seen ads that say, "We have
to charge a fee to make sure that you're serious". Why don't
they just post their job on E-Bay and give it to the highest
bidder? Imagine going for an interview and the employer says,
"Have a seat. Now, before we get started, I'm going to need
$39.95 from you. We have to make sure you're serious." Would
you pay them? Of course not! So why would you pay someone who
is claiming to be hiring just because it's on the internet?
Now, a business opportunity is different. You
have to expect start-up costs for any business- but that's a
story for another day...
3. Job listings with typos and ALL CAPS.
These telltale signs should raise a flag right
away. Do you really want to work for someone who can't spell?
4. The job description says, "no skills or
Really? Why not just have their kids do the job
for 50 cents an hour? Managing remote employees is extremely
challenging. Employers who hire and supervise telecommuters
want highly skilled, experienced employees that they can
trust. They have to be confident that they can perform their
jobs with little or no supervision. This is why most
telecommuters are required to work on-site for a certain
period of time before they're allowed to work from home.
5. Vague or non-existing job description.
The more vague a job listing is, the more likely
it is to be a scam. There's nothing more aggravating to a
recruiter than getting bombarded by resumes from unqualified
candidates. This is why most legitimate job listings read like
a novel. They want to be sure that only the ones that meet
their criteria respond.
This leads me to an important bit of advice for
telecommute job seekers. Never, ever respond to a job listings
that you are not fully qualified for. I spend a lot of time
recruiting companies that have telecommute policies to post at
my site. Many of them are reluctant to post their listings
online because they are inundated with responses from people
who aren't remotely qualified. It gives all of us a bad
reputation and cuts down on the number of jobs that are
advertised. I just can't stress enough how important this is.
6. No contact information.
If you can't reach someone to ask a question, or
ask for a reference, then there's something wrong. A real
employer wants to get the position filled, and if you are
qualified, they want to convince you to work for them. You
should be able to reach them (or someone in their company at
And the number one sign of a scam:.
7. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably
A case in point: A company posted a job listing
for U.S. Representatives. Seems they needed people to accept
shipments of computers and electronics and then ship them to
international destinations. They were offering an outrageously
high salary and reimbursement for shipping. They allegedly had
offices in the United States, so why would they need John
Smith in Hoboken, New Jersey to handle their shipping? Sounds
fishy, right? It was. They had people ship the computers all
right, but never paid them.
Many people rely on the website that carries the
listing to screen out fraudulent listings, but the truth is
that most of them don't have the resources to screen every
post. In fact, most sites carry a disclaimer stating that it
is the job seeker's responsibility to screen potential
The bottom line is that you should let common
sense be your guide. If something seems not quite right, don't
bother. At the very least, check out any company thoroughly
before making any commitment.
Below are some excellent resources:
Better Business Bureau
Federal Trade Commission
Sharon Davis, Work-At-Home expert, author and consultant,
helps people to achieve their goal of working at home,
telecommuting or starting a home business.
Work At Home
Work At Home Blog
Deceiving and being Deceived
Finding Your Home Business Niche
Using Freelance Websites to Telecommute
Work at Home Ideas
Just starting a Home Business?