How to Spot a Work From Home Scam

Photo by @Saigon on Flickr
Photo by @Saigon on Flickr

When it comes to finding work at home gigs that pay, work from home scams are one of your worst enemies. Plenty of scams target people who want to find quick ways to make some cash, but knowing how to spot a work from home scam can help you avoid them. Once you weed out the scams, it becomes much easier to find real at-home work opportunities. Here are some things to look for when you’re assessing whether a particular gig is a scam or not:

An Opportunity Seems Too Good to Be True

As in everything, an opportunity that seems too good to be true probably is. Working from home isn’t likely to score you thousands of dollars a day right from day one, and jobs that promise bucketloads of cash for little actual work aren’t likely to be real jobs. Before you commit your time to something, think about whether someone is really likely to be paying that much for it.

Hidden Conditions and Terms

When you sign onto a gig provided by an online company, you’ll likely have to check off that you agree to their terms and conditions. Read those agreements carefully before committing- many work at home scams have terms that you shouldn’t accept. A scam company might put in their terms that you have to make $500 on their platform before they will pay you, which means you get nothing if they decide to terminate your position with them after you’ve done $499 worth of work. Another fine-print detail to look out for is the company’s acceptance policy for things you’ve completed. If they have the right to deny you payment for “unacceptable quality,” that could be a sign that they plan to claim your work wasn’t up to par and refuse to pay you.

Pay to Play

Pay to play schemes are some of the longest running scams in the history of work at home scams. Pay to play means that you’re required to buy something or pay upfront for access to work. These scams generally never pay people for actual work- they rake in money from people who are throwing cash at them to get access to jobs or raw materials. Keep in mind that the money should flow from the business to the worker, not the other way around. Legitimate work from home companies don’t require workers to pay to join. They’re actively looking for good workers and want to make it easy for good workers to come onboard.

Unsolicited Offers

Seeking out work from home companies or responding to ads online that are looking for workers can net you plenty of potential work. Emails or private messages from companies you’ve never heard of are more likely to be a scam. This isn’t universal, as someone you know could have recommended you, but if you do get unsolicited messages, check out the company online before pursuing any work there.

Plenty of Complaints Online

In the modern Internet age, it’s easy to find out whether others think a company is legit or a scam. Simply search for the company online along with the word “scam” or “bad” to see if others have reported them as a sketchy deal. Local BBB offices might also be able to tell you if a company you’re considering has had any complaints.

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