Some of the world’s best eCommerce fulfillment services, social media platforms, and fashion labels started out as home-based passion projects. Of course, you don’t have to have a business idea of your own to successfully work from home.
There are plenty of opportunities to find work online. The problem is that job boards and social media platforms are full of scams and fake offers designed to rip you off. To ensure you don’t become a victim, keep the following tips in mind when looking for online work:
1. Cross-reference information
One of many tactics used by scammers is to create fake job ads for real companies. They’ll work up a website that looks, at first glance, like the real company’s website, and the job ad will link to a form on this site. If you fill out that form, you’ll have given the scammers information they can use to steal your identity.
So, be careful when clicking links. If you do follow a link, check that the address lines up with the address of the company’s official website. While you’re there, check to see if the job ad is listed on the official site.
2. Never pay to apply
If a recruiter claims you need to pay for training, materials, or anything else, this should be a huge red flag. Rarely (if ever) will you have to pay for any aspect of applying for a legitimate online job. That includes situations where the company sends you a check and asks you to cash it, purchase equipment, and send them back the leftover funds. Though the check will go through at first, once you’ve purchased equipment and sent them back the change, the check will bounce, leaving you massively in the red.
3. Track your applications
When you’re applying for multiple jobs a day, it’s easy to lose track. However, this puts you at risk. You might receive an email from a scammer and assume they’re contacting you about an application you made. Many people report an influx of job-related scam emails when they start applying for work, so tracking your applications is a good way to ensure you only ever respond to legitimate emails from companies you contacted for work.
4. Treat your personal data like the prized possession it is
Scammers place a high value on people’s personal data because it opens up a world of opportunities for them. If they gather enough of yours, they can steal your identity, apply for credit in your name, scam the people in your social media network, and so much more. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you need to value your personal information even more than the scammers do. Treat it like a prized possession, and only share it with companies you know with 100% certainty are legit.
5. Watch for red flags
By now, most people know that spelling and grammar issues are major red flags for scams. However, if English is not your strong point, you may miss these things. To give yourself a helping hand, copy job ads into a free online grammar checker to spot any glaring mistakes.
Other red flags to look out for include:
- Big money for easy work;
- Anything involving gift cards;
- Free email addresses (e.g., [email protected]);
- Immediate success (i.e., you’re offered the job with no interview or screening process);
- Shady-sounding work (e.g., receiving cash and forwarding it to other addresses).
Above all else, remember that if a WFH offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. Stay safe out there, and good luck finding the remote job of your dreams!