Author: Karen Beaman, Director Agent Acquisition and Onboarding
Working from home can be a life changing opportunity and running your own home-business is something many people dream about. Knowing how to avoid work from home scams can help you keep that dream from becoming a nightmare.
Watch out for:
- People who contact you with offers that you did not apply for or inquire about. In this type of scam a person may claim to be from a legitimate company, but may direct you to a fake website, application, or interview process where they attempt to collect personal information.
Protect yourself: Be wary of emails from companies that you did not give your email address to. If an email seems suspicious, search for the company online and go directly to their website instead of clicking on links in the email, and never send sensitive information such as your social security number or credit card information via email or online chat.
- Companies that use free tools such as Gmail, Yahoo mail, and instant messages services for interviews or that do not have a professional looking company website or verifiable street address. Free communication tools can make it easy for an unscrupulous person to create a fake company or to impersonate a real one.
Protect yourself: If you can’t verify that a company is legitimate, it may be best to look elsewhere.
- Offers that promise a lot of money with very little effort. Legitimate work-from-home opportunities will typically take some effort on your part to be successful.
Protect Yourself: Make sure you understand what you will be doing to earn money, how you will be paid, and the skills you need to succeed. Keep this old adage in mind when evaluating work from home opportunities: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
- Upfront Investments. Offers that require you to purchase how to guides, mailing lists, start-up kits, etc. may be more about selling those items than helping you make money. Independent contractors are typically responsible for their own expenses, equipment needed to work, and background check fees, but be wary if the company requires you to purchase things directly from them.
Protect yourself: Before spending money on an opportunity, check the company out. Do they have a legitimate website? Are they in good standing with the Better Business Bureau? Do you know someone who has been successful with this business?
- Companies that send you a check to purchase office equipment or ask you to do any type of money transfer. This may seem like a way to avoid making an upfront investment, but it could be a scam. The check may bounce after you have already spent the money or made a transfer.
Protect yourself: Most companies that are providing you with office equipment will either send you the equipment itself or provide you with details about their expense reimbursement policy.
Perhaps the most important tip for avoiding work from home scams is to trust your instincts if anything seems suspicious. As a leader in work-from-home opportunities, LiveOps works to build trust with potential independent agents. We maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau , outline our application process on our website so that you know what to expect, and have active pages on sites like Glassdoor and Facebook where you can view comments from real people who have built successful at home businesses with LiveOps.