When you’re looking for work-at-home opportunities, you're bombarded with information. Positions sound appealing, but are they legitimate? I know the uncertainty you feel because when I started my work-at-home job search, I was in the same boat. It's why I created this website.
Through my research, I've found some simple solutions that will significantly decrease your chances of falling prey to work-at-home scams.
Here are seven ways to find real work-from-home jobs that aren't scams.
Before you jump into the tips, be sure to grab our Free Scam Prevention Workbook, which will help you organize and track your job search so you can avoid scams!
1. Do a Google Search
Take your time and research the company or business opportunity extensively. A simple way to do this is through a Google search. If someone has had a poor experience with the company, they may have written a negative review. Dig around and see what you find both negative and positive. Searching by the company's name and the keywords “scam” or “review” will populate the quickest results. Make sure you go beyond the first page of the search results — sometimes negative reviews get buried.
2. Check Out These Sites
Use the following websites to investigate and research the companies you're interested in. These sites will provide you with a wealth of information.
Use the BBB website to research the company and see if they have any positive or negative reviews. Some companies claim to be members of the BBB, and they’ll post a BBB membership emblem on their site. Don’t just assume they are a member, try to click on the symbol; it should link to their review and rating on the BBB site. If it does not, do a manual search on the BBB site – you can search by the company's name, URL, phone number, or email address.
If you're interested in joining a direct sales business opportunity, check to see if the company is a member of the Direct Selling Association. To become a member of the DSA, companies need to adhere to a strict ethical code of conduct. While many legit direct sales companies are not members of the DSA, it is a nice reassurance if the company that you're interested in joining is a member of this organization.
Glassdoor.com is a website where you can search for jobs, but more importantly, you can read reviews of companies from past and present employees. Just click on the Company Reviews tab and enter the company's name in the search box. Companies are rated from zero to five stars, five being the best. You can also read more in-depth reviews to get a bird's eye view of why the employee liked or disliked the company.
If somebody has been burned by a work-at-home opportunity, they have likely included their experience on WAHM.com. This website has the largest work-at-home forum (that I know of) on the web. You can search for threads on the company you're interested in working for, or you can post your own conversations to get additional details.
3. Are They Publicly Visible?
People that are promoting scams do not want to be found. Look for names, headshots, company histories and bios, active social media profiles, and contact information. Scammers like to hide behind fake phone numbers, P.O. boxes, and elusive online accounts — try to communicate with them and get additional information on their company or opportunity. If a CEO or Founder's name is given on their website, search on LinkedIn to see if their data correlates to what's on their website. If they're not publicly visible, this should be a red flag warning to you.
4. Do They Have Social Proof?
Does the company have any testimonials from previous clients or employees? Try and get in touch with these people and get their honest thoughts on the company or program. Has the company been featured in the media or on a major publication? If their website boasts “as seen on” – try and click on the emblem, it should lead to the article or media event. If not, do a manual Google search listing the company name and media outlet to see if you can find the article. Generally, when a company has been featured on a major media outlet, they're proud of it, and they will link directly to the feature to boost their reputation. If the company is on Facebook, search for customer reviews and ratings on the left-hand side of their company page.
5. Are They Making Hyped Up Claims?
Have you ever come across a job listing where they're offering insanely high pay rates for entry-level work? How about job postings where you can start immediately, no experience needed? I can tell you that with legit work from home jobs, the application, interview, and hiring process takes a reasonable amount of time; usually weeks, sometimes months. Also, real jobs are not going to pay high rates for entry-level work; there are more than enough people to fill these entry-level roles. If you're uncertain if a pay rate is within reasonable standards, take a look at PayScale.com and verify the average income for the type of work you're applying for in your location.
6. Did You Apply for the Job?
Often when people are looking for a job, they apply for multiple positions with numerous companies. But when you don't keep track of your efforts, it puts you at risk for falling prey to a scam. Many scammers will make unsolicited job offers via email or phone, as they do in this Amazon phone scam. If you're not keeping track of your efforts, you may assume it's a legit company making a legit job offer — but unwittingly, you end up falling for a scam.
While recruiters do sometimes call or email out of the blue, these positions will be for highly skilled professions likes nursing or engineering. According to LinkedIn, the most recruited job functions occur in engineering, sales, operations, marketing, and HR. Recruiters generally do not recruit for entry-level positions, as there are more than enough people to fill these roles.
7. What's Your Gut Feeling?
Have you gone through all the previous steps, and everything seems to check out? But for some reason, it just doesn't feel right? Always trust your gut feeling! Intuition is a natural phenomenon that makes it possible to know something's wrong without having any evidence. In fact, Steve Jobs said, “Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work.”
As the saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
If you're still feeling uneasy about your work-at-home job search — check out the paid membership site, FlexJobs. Every single job listed on their website is hand-screened for legitimacy. So when you apply, you can rest assured that you're not going to fall prey to a work-at-home scam. Not only does FlexJobs have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but they also offer a money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied with their service.
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Originally published on March 2009. Content updated on October 6, 2019.
Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she’s been able to figure out how to find a career path that you’re truly passionate about. Holly’s had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman’s Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.
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