How to Spot and Avoid Work From Home Scams

December 30, 2013 | By | Reply More

 work from home scams

What’s worse than coming across a work at home scam?

Falling for one.


I’ve been scammed plenty of times.  And I do mean plenty!  By now, I can smell a scam a mile away.  Right?  Well, not always.  It seems that the smarter I get the smarter the scammers seem to get.  But when I decided that I wanted (needed) to work from home, I knew that I didn’t want (or need) to pay tens or hundreds of dollars to get a job.  Nor did I wish to have to recruit tens or hundreds of people in order to get paid for whatever job I did get.

All I wanted was to do a better job than my competition.  You know, like I did in the “real” world.  Along the way I discovered that there were a lot of other women, just like me,  who were trying to avoid the emotional and financial pain of being scammed.

Over time, I realized that there is no 100 percent, surefire way to protect myself.  But I did learn–the hard way–how to recognize some red flags and lower my risks of getting burned.

1.  Don’t pay for employment.  This seems almost obvious.  But, if I’m asked to pay a company to work for them–even an application fee–I cross that ad off my list.


2.  Look for these red flags. If an advertisement contains any of the following words or phrases, stay away:

  • “Down line, Up line, Power line”
  • “Quick, Easy, No work”
  • (Huh?)
  • “Cash machine”
  • “Self replicating”
  • “No experience”
  • (Eh?)
  • “Unlimited Income Potential”
  • “Free details”
  • (That’s probably all that will be free!)
  • “Residual income”
  • “Turnkey”
  • “Multi-level, Ground-level, Levels deep”
  • “Tiers”
  • “Big money fast”
  • “Make money while you sleep”
  • (I’ve never been paid to sleep on the job!  Have you?)


3.  Be suspicious of unfamiliar companies that hire “internationally”.  Chances are great that the “company” is really a person who happens to have an up line, down line, or whatever.


4.  Don’t send an SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) for further information.  If the company can afford to buy stamps, it can’t afford to pay you–at least not for very long!


5.  Never call a 900 number for information about a job position.  This is obviously the same as paying for information.


6.  Avoid paying the hiring company for materials you “need” to get the job done.  Either you have it already, or you don’t.  If you don’t, then you probably aren’t qualified for the job.


7.  Read an entire ad carefully before writing or calling the hiring person.  There might be fine print somewhere, where the words Up line, Down line or whatever are lurking!


8.  Find out how long a company has been in business before agreeing to work for it.  Your hard-earned pay might end up being the owners’ grocery money, because they didn’t budget their start-up money properly.


9.  Check out any company you’re considering with the Better Business Bureau.  Although companies pay to be listed there, any company that gets complaints will also be listed–for free.


10.  Join free support groups.  There are numerous online support groups,  where everyone is in the same boat that you are in.  These groups’ members love to blast a scam when they find one.  That alone will save you a lot of time and trouble.


My absolute final guideline:  Pay attention to your instincts.  Don’t ever feel so desperate to find home employment that you ignore or overlook indications that something is a scam.  Scammers prey on people’s desperation (particularly women’s).  Know that you are not alone.  Don’t make what you might think of as a desperate situation worse by letting yourself be taken in by a scam.


Your turn: Have you learned any hard lessons about scams?



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Category: Work at Home Scams

About the Author ()

Pamela La Gioia is a resume writer and LinkedIn profile expert. She is also a pioneer in remote work, and has been researching and writing about remote work since the early 1990's. You can follow her on LinkedIn, for resume tips, LinkedIn insight, and general career help.

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