How to spot a "work from home" scam

Sep 21, 2012, 8:22 a.m.
Many con artists operate under the false guise of offering work from home opportunities that are just gateways to scam victimhood.

If you're over 55 and you're interested in going back to work , you've probably seen or heard about numerous "work from home" opportunities that promise maximum return for minimal investment. Often, these are touted as the most lucrative top jobs for people over 55, claiming that they hold the secret to being able to bring you hundreds of dollars for just a few hours of work. Sound too good to be true? That's because it is. The truth is, many con artists operate under the false guise of offering work from home opportunities that are just gateways to scam victimhood. Here are some of the telltale warning signs of work from home scams.

  1. A suspicious absence of detail. If you read a work from home ad and you can't immediately tell exactly what the job entails or what you'll be doing, take this as indication of a possible scam and stay far and away.
  2. Opportunities that claim no experience is necessary. The fact is, a legitimate work opportunity will always require some level of experience. It makes perfect sense -- why would any employer on the up-and-up be willing to hire people who don't have a proven capability to perform?
  3. Jobs that have to do with basic tasks like stuffing envelopes or performing simple assembly can be done much cheaper by companies using machines. When you see a work from home ad that entails either of these two, you should proceed with caution. Better yet, don't even bother at all.
  4. Charging you to get started or to give you the basic tools necessary to make your small fortune are clear indicators of a scam in progress. No legitimate business offering at-home work opportunities will charge you a cent to get you started. If you see dollar signs associated with a work from home offer, be suspicious.
  5. Asking for your personal information. Never give anyone your credit card or social security information in exchange for a chance to make money from home. This is how many scammers succeed at pulling the wool over people's eyes, and it usually ends up in a stolen identity and the possible loss of your savings.

Not every work from home job opportunity is a scam. These days, many call centers hire employees to work from their homes, thus cutting back on operational expenses and overhead. Before you turn down what could be a legitimate opportunity, get yourself well versed in what separates a real opportunity from a fake one.

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