5 Signs of a Work from Home Scam

By Mike Haaren – Jan. 3, 2017

A new year means new joys, new possibilities, and… new work from home scams! But scammers often use the same core moves, one year to the next. You can protect yourself if you know what to look for.

Here are five signs of work from home scams that we see again and again. Don’t be a victim — forewarned is forearmed!

— You’re contacted by an “employer” you didn’t apply to. Just this morning one of our Facebook members asked us about an employer who — out of the blue — emailed her for a job interview. The “interviewer” had her resume, but she had never applied to the company for a job. That’s a big red flag.

Scammers harvest resumes from CareerBuilder, Monster and similar job sites and use them to find victims. They’ve also infiltrated LinkedIn and other networking sites. If you get an email or phone call from an “employer” you haven’t contacted, there’s a very good chance it’s a scam. For more on spotting bogus LinkedIn messages, see this article in Forbes.

— “Beaches, Benjamins and Bling.” Scammers know that many job seekers are desperate for work. So they decorate their come-ons with the trappings of wealth. If the ad features Bentleys, beachfront villas, and $100 bills fanned out across the page, it’s probably not the Caribbean, but ePirates of the Caribbean.

— Your contact is using a Gmail or other non-corporate email address. This is not an ironclad rule, since some newer companies and smaller players may occasionally use non-corporate email. But on the whole, legitimate employers have corporate email accounts. If your contact has a non-corporate email address, be more cautious than usual, as scammers frequently use non-corporate accounts.

— High pay for entry level work. This often appears in data entry scams. If the “employer” is promising a high hourly rate for basic work, you’re almost certainly in scam country. Many people are looking for entry level work, so employers don’t need to offer high pay to get help. Steer clear!

— The “job” involves wiring funds. This often shows up in mystery shopping scams, where victims are sent a cashier’s check. You’re told to deposit the check, and keep a generous fee, plus money for the shopping you’ll do. Wire the rest to your friendly hirer.

When the check bounces, you’re on the hook with your bank for all the funds you withdrew. And since the scammer is usually overseas, the money you wired is gone forever. (For more tips on spotting mystery shopping scams, see Chris’s article here.)

Scammers will always be with us. But if you know how to spot them, you can find the work from home job you want, and keep your wallet safe, too. Safe Searching!

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