Recently, I came across an article titled,
Jobs: Is Working Online At Home The Next Gold Rush?
Of course, this caught my attention since I write about work-at-home topics.
When I clicked on the link and read the article, it looked authentic like it came from the Los Angeles Tribune News, which I assumed was a publication in California.
I read the story of Mary Steadman, a mom who recently lost her job as an Account Rep and started working from home with a system called Easy Google Profits. The article explained how she was able to make $5,500.00 a month with a trusted name like Google.
Read the Fine Print
Wanting to know more, I clicked on the link to Easy Google Profit, which brought you to a landing page boasting “As seen & trusted on Google, CNBC, USA Today, ABC, CNN, and Yahoo.” The page claimed that there is a limited supply, so you need to give them your name, phone number, and email address immediately.
A couple of things jumped out at me; one this site had nothing to do with Google. If you take the time to read the small print, it says, “Blazing Keywords is not affiliated with, endorsed by or in any way associated with Google.”
The second thing that caught my attention was the fact that you could not click on the “as seen & trusted on companies”. When companies state that they've been seen on major media publications, they should provide proof by linking to the article or clip. Once again, when you read the small print, it says, “The trademarks in this image are owned by their respective owners who do not endorse this product.”
Confused why a major publication like the Los Angeles Tribune News would feature such a story, I went back to the original article where I found some tiny print stating, “This publication is an article advertisement for Easy Google Profit.” Then for kicks, I searched for the terms “Mary Steadman” and “Easy Google Profit,” where numerous negative reports came up.
So is there really a Mary Steadman, and does she make $5,500 a month using Easy Google Profit? My guess is no.
My advice, if a work-at-home opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is! And here's what you need to watch out for when you're researching work-at-home opportunities.
1. Educate Yourself About Common Work-at-Home Scams
There are many common work-at-home scams, like stuffing envelopes, posting links online, and check cashing scams. When you come across an opportunity, be sure that you're doing your due diligence and researching the opportunity extensively. I offer a free scam prevention workbook right here, that will help you identify and steer clear of scams.
2. Use Reputable Sources
When you're doing your research on the company or job opportunity, be sure that you're using reputable resources like:
3. Beware of Unrealistic Income Claims
One big red flag of this scam is the unrealistic income claims for unskilled labor. Remote jobs that pay well are going to require some sort of skill or experience. Entry-level positions do not pay as much as skilled professions.
Another thing to be wary of is vague job descriptions. Legitimate work-at-home job postings will contain a detailed job description, skills, education, and experience needed, as well as technical requirements, and what the company offers.
4. Paying For a Job
For the most part, you should never have to pay for a job. Although some legit companies do ask potential job candidates to pay for criminal background checks or training materials. There are also business opportunities like home-based franchises, business-in-a-box opportunities, and direct sales opportunities that are legit and have start-up fees. When you're doing your research, understand if the opportunity is an actual job or business opportunity — because they are two very different careers.
5. Scammers Want to Hide
People that are promoting scams don't want to be found. When you're doing your research, you should look for information about the company and its leadership team. I like to use LinkedIn to see if the leadership team is visible and if they have any recommendations.
You should also look for contact information like an email address, phone number, and physical address. If there is a phone number, try calling it and see if a person answers, or if it's just a recording. Check for active social media profiles. The more visible a person or company is, the less likely they are promoting a scam to the public.
Alternative Names For This Scam
Sadly, other versions of this deceptive opportunity continue to be promoted online.
Here are some of the various names that it's shown up as over the years:
Update 2014: It appears this scam is floating around again, but the individual's name has changed, it's now Mary Stevens, or Melissa Johnson, or Kelly Richards.
Update 2016: There appears to be a new variation of this deceptive opportunity, called Financial Health Reset. With this opportunity, they have a fake Forbes article, which leads to a landing page where you enter your name, email address, and phone number. I decided to enter my information to see what it was all about — and it took me to a sales page for a work-at-home opportunity to post links online. But, to get the information, you have to pay $97!
Update 2020: The newest version of this deceptive opportunity is called 3HourJob.com. When you enter the web address, it redirects to this web address: https://insao.info — which is for a company called, Website ATM. When you do a Google search for Website ATM, the first search result is a YouTube video called, Is Website ATM a Scam? You can watch the video here, or read about the latest version at ScamFinance.
As new information emerges, I will continue to update this post.
This page includes affiliate links. Please be aware we only promote advertising from companies that we feel we can legitimately recommend to our readers. Please see our disclosure policy for further information.