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How to Spot a Work at Home Scam

With all the work at home opportunities advertised today, it can be difficult to pick out the true jobs from the scams. Here are some tips that will help you determine whether a job is legitimate or a scam in just minutes.

Do they charge a fee? - If so, it is a scam. A legitimate company will not charge you to work for them. Period. Occasionally, you will come across companies that charge for training, but most often they will deduct the cost from your first few paychecks. This is rare, however. Most companies will provide free training. There are also a few companies that will charge for the cost of having a background check performed on you. Again, this is pretty rare.

Home business opportunities will often charge a start-up fee, which includes a kit containing product samples, training information and more. Don't confuse these opportunities with telecommute positions. Very often they are advertised only as "work at home" - not telling you whether it's a job or a business opportunity. If there is a start-up kit you need to buy, it is a business opportunity. If there is a "fee" to begin working for them (often called an application fee, or administrative fee), it is a scam.

Is the website sloppy? - This alone doesn't always point to a scam. I've seen some legitimate companies with horrible websites too. However, scammer websites are usually very sloppily put together, with tons of spelling and grammatical errors all over the place. Not always - sometimes they do have web design knowledge and a spell-checker.

Also, are they using a free web host like Geocities or Bravenet? (Example: If the domain name reads http:⁄⁄XYZClerical.bravehost.com or http:⁄⁄www.geocities.com⁄XYZClerical - they are using a free web host. Owning their own domain, it would read like this: http:⁄⁄www.XYZClerical.com) Website hosting is so affordable nowadays, it is rare to find any legitimate companies that would use a free web host.

Contact information - Click on the "Contact Us" (or "About Us") page of the website. Is there a street address and telephone number? Or just an email address or P.O. Box? Legitimate companies will give you their true contact information.

Is the email address from a free email provider like Yahoo or Hotmail? This doesn't always mean it's a scam, sometimes companies don't want to use their main address and get bombarded with resumes. Still, use caution if you see a free email account being used, especially if it's the only form of contact available. If a phone number is given, call it.

Do they answer with the company name like a real business? Or do you get dumped right into a voicemail box? Again, that might not mean it's a scam by itself, just something to consider.

Testimonials - Does the website feature testimonials? These are usually glowing reviews from people who are allegedly working at home for this company. Why would a company want to do this? Remember this: testimonials are most often used in sales copy. They are trying to "sell" you something if they use testimonials. Legitimate companies will rarely use them. I have seen a couple of real companies with testimonials on their websites, so it does happen, but not often.

Excessive income claims - "Easy work, great pay!" That's a big red flag. No legitimate employer is going to flaunt easy work for great pay. Instead they usually say, "Salary commensurate with experience." Meaning, if you have experience in that field, you will probably earn more money than someone who doesn't.

If an ad claims, "No experience necessary!" - be wary. There are certainly employers who will train you and don't require experience, but if an ad is flaunting the fact that you don't need experience and will earn great money, watch out. Especially for jobs you would expect to need experience for, like typing or data entry.

If the job is extremely simple (like stuffing envelopes), ask yourself why a company would pay so much money for someone to stuff envelopes when they could buy a machine to do it for far less money? Use common sense. Compare the job to the income. Does it sound near what you'd earn in your local area? (Most work at home jobs pay LESS than what you'd earn outside the home, not more.)

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