Top Ten Tips on How to Tell Legitimate Opportunities from Scams
“The truth is, I’ve never fooled anyone. Sometimes I let men fool themselves.” –Marilyn Monroe
One challenge in finding a work-at-home job is the prevalence of scams. Work-from-home job frauds have been around long before the Internet existed.
In the past, criminals used “work from home jobs” as bait to attract people to pay for their service. The ads would appear in magazines, which promised “easy money” for no work.
Today, the swindlers are out in full force on the Internet. Their target:
- Low or Fixed Income
- Forced to retire early
- Over 50 and “over the hill”
Looks like we retirees fit in several categories. We need to be aware of popular avenues criminals use to “hook” us and reel us into fraudulent job opportunities.
Today, thieves have many avenues available for them to reach you. Here are a few:
- Job Boards
- Online Forums
- Social Media
Watch Out! That hungry lion is stalking you now.
Do Your Research to Determine if the Opportunity is Legitimate
Here are some ways to tell whether a business opportunity is real, or simply too good to be true.
- No Way to Contact the Business:
If the opportunity is legit, they will have proof of their business. You should be able to look up the people and the name of the business. See the last paragraph on this post for more information.
- Promises of Riches Overnight:
Any plan that claims you’ll become rich overnight is a fraud. It’s just not going to happen. Working from home at a job, or running your own business, requires skill, work, and more work to make money. You’re not going to just set up a business and do nothing and get paid.
- They Ask for Money Up Front (and Now):
Many companies do ask for money up front, which is a business investment. MLM companies like Amway, Avon, and Tupperware are legitimate opportunities to make money. A company that is more interested in recruiting you for a spot on their pyramid scheme is likely a scam.
Remember, never pay for a job. However, you can pay for a business opportunity, so be careful and do your research.
- You Feel Pressured to Act Now:
If you are talking to a high-pressure sales person, don’t fall for the “buy now or lose out” claims. There is always another deal later. A real opportunity is going to be there tomorrow.
- The Offer Has Anything to Do with Western Union:
Sorry to name a company like this but it’s true; if you need to use Western Union to send money to anyone, run. In fact, any type of money-changing, bank-involved delivery system is usually a scam. You must realize that it’s illegal and you could end up in jail.
- It Sounds Too Good to Be True:
- You know it in your gut that it’s just too good to be true, but you are tempted.
- Take some time to research the company. Do not limit your search on the people and places they give you. Do your due diligence beyond their information and dig, dig, and dig some more.
- Walk away if you can’t prove they’re legitimate.
- Random Email Offering a Position You Did Not Apply For Directly:
This happens sometimes when you fill out a job application online. The dishonest company obtains your information online with no job to offer. They will send you unsolicited jobs or offers of advice for a fee.
My advice on what to do when you detect an email scams? Delete.
- They Offer Outlandish Pay for Low Wage Position Titles:
This is a common sign of a swindle. They advertise on a website that promises a great salary for low paying jobs.
Be realistic. You’re not going to make $45 dollars an hour as a receptionist.
Above all, pay attention to your gut. If it feels fishy, it is.
Some of these criminals only want you to fill out their applications so they can steal your identity. To protect yourself, get a free employment identification number (EIN) from the IRS. In this way, you don’t give out your social security number. Other countries may have similar programs, but you’ll have to check.
Whatever you do, don’t blindly give out this information to strangers.
Attention: Due Diligence means using resources to check out the companies.
Here are just a few resources:
- Snipes: Great site to investigate rumors, lies, and frauds.
- State Attorney General’s Office: They will list the current fraudulent activity in your area. Check their website frequently.
- Reuters and Bloomberg News: They report on companies, print their company’s press releases, news articles and more data is available on business news sites.
- Google Scam Alert: Type in the company or business in question + scam. See what Googles picks up.
- Social Network Sites: People want to get the word out on scams quickly.
- Las Vegas is a popular area for scam artist bilking you for money on the Internet. What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.
There you have it. The top ten tips to avoid scams and how to find out about the latest swindles. Beware of the naked man offering you his shirt. He is after your shirt, money, and anything else he can rob from you.
Don’t give out your social security number. Other countries may have similar set-ups, but you’ll have to check. Otherwise, don’t blindly give out this information to strange