Work At Home Scams

Do not lose money due to a work from home scam ad. Learn what to look for.

Does the thought of working at home interest you? Have you looked at any work from home ads, while online or in a magazine or newspaper, and wondered if it could be true? Could you really get paid for that?

All work from home advertisements printed in newspapers and magazine ads seem to read the same. Though not necessarily in the same order, they all ask the same questions: Are you tired of commuting? Do you want to spend more time at home with your family? Do you want to choose the hours you want to work? Do you want a little extra income? Do you want to be your own boss?

WOW! No commuting, spend more time at home, choose the hours that I want to work, increase my savings by a few extra dollars, and be my own boss! What a deal!

OK. Let's look at the fine print. I will be paid to stuff envelopes for an advertising agency or some other company; I just have to send a small of money to cover the cost of the material and whatnot. Wait a minute. Why should I pay them so I can start doing them a service? If I am going to be hired to do some sort of service, such as stuffing envelopes, out of my home, the company for which I will be doing the service should pay the shipping costs to send out the material with which I will be handling. I have to stuff my own envelopes without any help; they can stuff theirs. If I have to pay, no way!

What else can I do so I don't have to commute, can be my own boss, and choose my own hours? All I have to do is buy this book that lists several work from home jobs and the contact persons of the company offering the position. It's only $17.95 (plus shipping). Well, just be sure that this advertiser isn't planning on ripping me off, I think I'll ask him or her to show me the publication first . . . and maybe let me review it for 30 days before I buy it. On the second thought, I don't think I will. If I have to pay, no way.

You cannot go by the rule of thumb that "if the company lists an address, phone number, and a name, then the company is legit" because, although the ad may list a company name and address, the company may not exist. Unless you live in the town in which the company supposedly is established, how do you know that "some number, some street, some suite" actually exists? If the ad lists a P.O. box for an address or if the address appears to be a home address, chances are the company does not exist.

If the ad lists a phone number, call the number, ask for the owner, and ask the person who comes on the line about the company, other employees, and ask for a brochure showcasing the company to be sent to you. If the company exists, the person in charge will be more than happy to send you any information and answer any questions. However, if you get a recording or a message machine, hang up; that "company" does not exist.

Let's turn to the Internet. A search on any of the search engines will show that there are a number of "businesses" that, for a small fee, will email you a newsletter or a listing of companies searching for telecommuters. Those businesses' websites sure make those "companies" look good! Wait a minute. If this business is truly a business or a service, the business would charge the companies to advertise in the newsletter and offer the newsletter to job seekers for free. Otherwise, the company must charge job seekers to receive the e-newsletter because: a) the company does not charge their clients enough for their advertisement or b) the company does not have that many job listings or c) a and b are true. So, if I do pay for the e-newsletter, I would essentially be paying the owners of this so-called business to find me a job. I might as well place a want ad in a newspaper or a magazine - that would probably cost less than the email newsletter.

There are also a lot of businesses that offer a free database of work from home jobs, except a user must first pay a small fee to access the database. The company will claim that the company must cover administrative costs. Wait a minute! If a company charges their clients to place an ad in their database, those charges should cover the administrative costs, shouldn't it? Therefore, if the company needs to have their job seeking clients pay a fee, then the company (a) has a much smaller database than advertised or (b) does not charge their other clients enough to post their ads. If I do pay the fee to access the database, it would be like buying one of those books that lists work from home jobs and the person to contact. Why should I pay anyone to find me a job? That's nonsense. Sorry companies requiring payment to view their job listings, if I have to pay, no way!

Since work from home positions - very profitable work from home positions - are available, not ALL ads are bogus. The key to finding a work from home position is being persistent. Work from home positions do exist; you just have to take the time to look for them. If you remember "If I have to pay, no way," your chances of not getting caught in a scam and not getting ripped off increase.

If you are wondering if there are any sites that do offer free databases, there are a few out there. Be aware that not all jobs listed in these databases are legit.

If you wish to search the Internet and see if you can find legitamate work from home possibilities and conduct your searches there. Use "telecommute," "work from home," and "freelance" as keywords. Most reputable companies will post their openings at these sites, sites that were created to connect with job seekers. Research every company thoroughly and visit the company's website, if it is listed.

Yahoo, Excite, Alta Vista, and Looksmart all are public search engines and allow anyone to post ads in their classifieds section. Companies (reputable ones anyway) will not post here because they may receive inquiries from people who are not really job seekers. Many work from home positions or opportunities posted in Yahoo, Excite, Looksmart, and Alta Vista are, I have found, scams.

There are volumes of valid information regarding finding work from home positions at sites created to help work from home mothers. Although those sites have been created for mothers working out of their homes, the information will help ALL job seekers. The webmasters have included message boards where you can post questions about working or finding a from home position.

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