While there is no dearth of genuine work at home jobs and online working opportunities these days, you have to wary to avoid those sharks sitting out there.
People out there who are simply waiting for YOU to bite the bait.
The internet is flooded with such work from home scams and online frauds, and I wanted to raise an awareness about such dubious offers.
I am sure thousands (if not millions) of hapless job seekers fall for such scams year after year, only to learn later that they have been taken for a ride.
I am writing for the benefit of such readers, to be able to ‘teach’ them to distinguish between legit work from home opportunities and online scams.
How to avoid work at home scams/ online scams?
I have often come across brilliantly worded advertisements where a lazy bum claims to be earning as much as $10,000 every week by working for just 2-3 hours every week.
Or that glamorous young gal who tells you how close she was to bankruptcy till she discovered untold riches that changed the way she lived and has been laughing her way to the bank ever since!
Here are a few tips to avoid such work from home scams/ online frauds:
Here are two top reasons that should act as a warning signal:
Reason to doubt #1: It’s just too good to turn down!
I once heard someone say, “If it’s too good to be believed, it probably is!”
How true, I must say!
Use your common sense. If the guy who is running the tempting ad you are seeing was REALLY earning thousands of dollars by doing virtually nothing, would he need to run those ads in the first place?
If earning money was THAT easy, wouldn’t 90% of the world’s population be earning online?
Ask that smart guy to end poverty in the world by sharing his ‘wonderful secrets’ with everyone.
Earning money has never been easy, and never will be.
If everyone could earn such obscenely huge amounts by working part time or by working from home, offices would have been deserted by now, and university toppers would not appear for grueling exams and tests to get good placements.
Reason to doubt #2: They are asking you for upfront money
Well, that bloke in the ad tells you that he owns a swanky car. And, so can you. If only you deposit $47 in his account!
Let such demands for upfront money act as a WARNING SIGNAL…..
Most of us get frequent emails telling us how lucky we are to have been selected for the wonderful job of a receptionist in a plush London hotel. The first time I got such a mail, I wondered how they managed to shortlist me without my having filled up any form or applied for that job at all.
All they wanted me to do was CONFIRM that I’d be joining them by filling up a form which cost $26 or $35. Usually, this amount is kept small so that more people can get lured.
Do not part with your hard earned money without bothering to verify the antecedents.
Remember that legitimate employers do not ask for upfront payment before they hire you or to make an ‘investment’ in their business!
How to Spot Work at Home Scams/ Online Scams?
Though the online world is flooded with scamsters, it does not mean that you cannot earn a decent amount of money online or as a work at home mom.
All I do want to suggest is to make doubly sure that you are not cheated. Because THAT can be a very shattering experience. Besides the monetary loss, you feel stupid for having trusted so easily and lose confidence in yourself.
If you come across a job claim that does not promise to make you an overnight millionaire, and requires you to work hard, put to use some special skill and does not call for an initial investment/ guarantees/ verification amount, it is probably not a scam!
Some Common Work at Home/ Online Scams
The most common online scams/ work at home scams we get to see from time to time are:
Data entry jobs: These are the scams you will come across most often. They usually tell you to do captcha entries or fill some forms. Most of them claim you a decent amount of money (not too huge- so that you fall for the bait). Usually, they ‘assure’ you a return of $100- $150 or Rs 5,000- Rs 8,000 for an initial deposit of about $200.
Now a jobless person thinks that he will be recovering his initial investment within two months and the money involved is not too huge. Who knows- I might be able to make $600-$700 from this itself?
Err….let me try it out.
That’s it. You transfer the money to the mentioned account and the company vanishes into thin air as if it never existed!
Online lottery scams: Honestly, if I’d claimed all those lotteries which I surprisingly win every week by dozens, I would have had more money in my current account than the Sultan of Brunei or Bill Gates!
Don’t be stupid- how can you win a friggin’ lottery without having purchased a ticket?
Multi level marketing: MLM scams are very common too, though I must mention that all MLM chains are not scams.
Most MLM companies pay you handsome profits if you recruit more people or get more members to endorse their cause which is usually selling certain products or ideas.
YOU have to be smart enough to make out the difference between a genuine money making opportunity and a scam.
One of the biggest MLM scams in the recent times was SpeakAsia in India. This company which required members to register themselves for $200 paid them out $50 every month for filling out 4 survey forms online every week. The company was even giving newspaper ads and TV commercials, which made them seem genuine and lent them some credibility.
Most such companies survive and pay out such huge checks to their ‘members’ as long as they can get new members to register every month. By the time the SpeakAsia bubble finally burst and the company ‘disappeared’ all of a sudden, the Indian public had lost several billion dollars!
All the same, there are MLM companies like Amway, etc which still give good profit to their members after having been around for years.
THINK THINK THINK again, is all I would say!
Filling envelopes: Of all the funny things being done to dupe a person of his money, this one is probably the most ludicrous!
Do you seriously believe people who say you can earn upto $3-$3 for stuffing an envelope?
Grow up, man!
Most companies who would be willing to pay such obscene amounts of money simply for stuffing envelopes could probably afford to employ full time workers to get this stuff done at a fraction of the cost they’d have to pay you. Or buy some machines to help them with that silly stuff!
Directly selling goods: Some companies require you to sell their goods after making a huge initial investment. Before ordering any of their stuff, carry out a market survey to see if the market for the products being offered by them actually exists and how huge it is. Is it big enough for you to recover your investment and later start earning from it?
Other common scams are in the form of:
- Email answering jobs
- Assembling jobs which promise you quick money by assembling craft kits, etc.
- Setting appointments
Some legit work at home/ online jobs
Enough of those scams!
It is possible to earn a decent amount of money by working from home by getting perfectly legit jobs work at home jobs/ online jobs!
Yes, I was earning a good amount of money right from the comfort of my living room as a freelance writer before I took to blogging!
They are online ventures as well. But then, I had to put to use my writing abilities, put in decent hours of work, and adhere to deadlines to earn those $$$. None of the freelancing sites I worked for initially asked me for any deposit (!!) before I could start getting work.
And I was careful enough not to register at any sites which did ask for a membership fees. There was this site which (I would not like to name it) which required me to fill up some simple questions to see if my command over English was good enough. Thereafter, I was asked to send that ‘test’ to their ‘expert panel’ for evaluation. I was promised upto $20 for a 1,000 word essay after I registered with them after clearing that test. The charges for getting my test checked were $35!
No way! I did not send my ‘test’ to the expert panel…and very sensibly so, I am sure!
Earning money from legit work at home jobs or from legit online jobs is no laughing matter though and you have to work dedicatedly to make sure that the $$$ keep pouring in!
Some legit work from jobs/ online jobs where you can genuinely earn a decent amount of money is:
- Starting affiliate marketing: Become an affiliate for some goods being offered for sale on sites like Amazon, Clickbank, etc and start earning huge amounts in the form of commissions over the sales you make.
- Selling products on eBay: You could sell old and new goods over eBay and if you are a shrewd business person, you could earn a good money from this. Infact, you could buy goods from eBay itself and sell them for a higher price- depending upon your marketing skills.
- Setting up an e commerce site: You could start an e commerce site and sell goods you can easily procure for a reasonable amount. With the right guidance, this could be the gold mine you were looking for.
I can’t be sure at present but I do intend to have an ecommerce site of my own some day, when I feel I am competent enough to be able to handle one.
- Virtual assistant: You could become a virtual assistant/ administrative assistant if you possess some basic computer skills, a reliable internet connection and a computer.
- Freelance work: you could become a freelance logo designer if you are good at designing, computer programmer, translator, offer online tutorials, freelance writer or become an internet research guide.
- Forex trading: Now, this is definitely not for me since I never made the effort to understand how exchange rates are determined. But I do have a few friends who are earning well from forex trading.
A risky proposition though, because the exchange rates between currencies fluctuate too often and you could eventually lose money rather than earning some!
- Stock exchange: For those who love to follow the stock market and me among the bulls and bears, online trading could earn you handsome rewards if you are good at reading out and following the stocks.
Again, huge risk involved. Tread this path with caution. You could earn millions, or go bankrupt.
What I want to underline here is that all online ventures/ work from home jobs are not scams.
But it is not always easy to make out the difference between a scam and a genuine employment opportunity.
Be careful. Just keep your eyes and ears open and you will be able to tell by instinct the moment you see yet another work from home scam or online scam!