Not all of us have the luxury of working from home, but there are certain fields in which working remotely is a great way to supplement income or have a more flexible career schedule. However, if you’re looking for work that you can do from home, it’s easy to come across scams that may seem like a real opportunity, but will screw you over in the long run. Here are a few tips for avoiding scams and some red flags to look for.
1. If you have to pay to work, it’s a scam
There should be no cost for working. If the company is asking you for a subscription or sign-up fee in order to get access to assignments or work, it’s a scam. What sense does it make to work for a company that pays you, yet you’re paying them in turn? Though this may seem like common sense, some companies are really good at hiding hidden fees and costs, so be sure to thoroughly research a remote position before jumping on board.
2. If you have to make a purchase, it’s a scam
Sometimes a purchase is required for an account to work remotely, such as a kit, a booklet or a manual. If the company is serious about its open positions, these resources will be completely free and provided to new employees when they’re accepted for the role. If you’re required to purchase any of these materials or similar tools, it’s a scam.
3. If you have to give personal information beyond an application, it may be a scam
It’s a given that some personal information will be revealed on your application or resume, but if a company is asking for information that you don’t normally see (such as bank or financial information), social media account access or anything else shady, steer wide and clear.
You may also want to be critical of the information you include on resumes for remote positions--for example, a remote position may need a general idea of what city and country you live in, but they probably don’t need your full address. Offer as little personal information as possible up front and tell the employer that you can give more upon request.
4. Be wary of Craigslist
Craigslist is a great way to find local or remote positions all over the country, but it is also a great way to fall victim to scams. Be wary of listings that are posted nearly every day or very often, and remember to search company names before sending them your resume. A simple Google search can tell you a lot about whether or not a company is legit. Likewise, users may often create posts warning others of scams.
5. Be wary of companies that don’t ask for a method in which to pay you
If you’re working remotely, companies are going to need a way to pay you, and not all of them use direct deposit. In fact, PayPal is becoming an increasingly popular way for employers to pay remote workers. If companies don’t ask for a payment method after the first few steps of the application process or after you’ve been "hired", it may be a scam.
While misunderstandings or missed steps can be easily figured out by emailing or calling the company with questions, some of these red flags send a clear signal to any work from home employee that it is a scam and to stay away.