You’ve heard it over and over again — there are SO many amazing work-from-home opportunities out there. Especially after 2020, it’s become even harder to determine what opportunities are real or a scam. Because everyone seems to want to work from home now.
Since there are so many, it must be easy to find — right?
Every time you click on something promising it turns out to be a really sketchy sales “job” with an MLM company.
Or, you have to send someone a wire transfer to get started on a “huge” investment opportunity.
Or you can try to apply for a too-good-to-be-true “sales” position that requires a huge “start-up cost.”
It’s scary and overwhelming to know what is real and safe.
OVER THE PAST DECADE, MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE GETTING AWAY FROM TYPICAL, RUN-OF-THE-MILL 9-5 JOBS. THEY’RE MOVING TOWARDS FLEXIBLE WORK-FROM-HOME JOBS.
Cons and scammers are out there, and sadly there are a lot. Legit work-from-home jobs do exist, and it’s important to know what to look for, what you’re dealing with, and how to avoid illegitimate traps. Here are 5 straightforward ways to see through scam nonsense.
Listen to Your Gut
The first and foremost important tool any hopeful stay-at-home jobber needs to use is simple — Your gut feeling.
The most common strategy of remote job scams is preying on your emotions. Most often, scammers will make offers that are too good to be true, and play into your emotions to make you take action.
If you keep a clear head, you’d be surprised by what nonsense you can see through just by listening to your gut, or following your intuition.
Listening to your gut is pretty simple. Most people think that your gut is always on alert, ready to talk to you, waiting to let you know to hit the brakes before you drive over that cliff. This isn’t really true, unless this is something you’ve practiced before and using it comes naturally.
Following your intuition is more so a conversation with your gut:
Clear your head and focus on the pit of your stomach. Ask your gut some questions and listen for the answers.
“How does this make me feel?” Excited? Nervous? Wary? Uneasy?
“Is this legitimate?” Make a snap-judgement — “At face value, does this look legit?” Feel it out.
“Is this for me?” Legitimacy aside, this is something you should ask yourself pretty early on. No need to waste your time on a potential job if you immediately are bombarded mixed feelings about how you’ll like it or how you’ll fit in it. Simply move on.
“Listen” (literally feel) for an answer.
No matter how good it looks, if it doesn’t feel right, listen to your intuition and move on.
If this comes naturally and you’ve found an offer that you immediately feel good about, keep on moving down this list. It won’t hurt to take some extra effort to see if it’s the real deal or not!
2. Check the Connection
The next most important thing to look for is who you’re talking to. If you’ve found an online, work-from-home job opportunity, the platform you found them through is the most important resource for checking their legitimacy.
Sites like UpWork, Fiverr, and Freelancer do the vetting for you, and connect you with employers without a second thought. But when you begin looking outside of these sources, the results are mixed.
First, there should be a website. A full website with pages and info and connections. You should be able to click through some pages and learn about the company and have most of your questions and concerns answered and alleviated.
Who’s behind the product? You should see real people. A face, or an explanation of the company situation, preferably with many faces. At least some information about the business.
In my business, I try to not be a stranger. That’s an actual goal of mine. My about me is on the homepage. You can check out my blog that explains my background with links to published work where my photography has been featured. I’m a real person trying to create an authentic connection and (I hope) that’s obvious. This is what you should look for in a remote job opportunity.
Email addresses coming from email newsletters should be through the website domain (because this often requires that account to have a verified domain and comply with spam laws).
Example: @photoeditorsguide.com instead of @gmail or @aol
Any job opportunities you receive through email without you reaching out first should automatically be red flagged. Any job offers without an interview should be a dead-giveaway that something is fishy.
When in doubt, send an email. Answering emails is definitely a good sign.
3. Read the Fine Print
Searching out job opportunities should be fun, inviting, and make you feel good, in general. When determining if a work-from-home job opportunity is trustworthy, a lot of times it just comes down to reading into it.
Read everything the company has to offer — Every little bit of babble they have on their website. This should give you a feel overall for the opportunity as a whole.
What’s the job description? The job description, including the services, rates, tasks, and requirements should all be cut and dry. We don’t want any fluff here. If there’s lack of a job description, that’s not a good sign.
Where’s the website? Again, there should be a website. That’s a must. If you arrive at a landing page with a buy-in and nothing else — that’s not a website, that’s a “no, thank you.”
How in-depth is the website?
How much content is there?
How elaborate is the content?
Each of these things takes time and energy. Scammers are typically lazy, and if you look hard enough, it’s noticeable in their work. They want to quickly make money off of you, and that comes at the cost of not putting in too much effort on their end, especially with things that take time like designing a website and writing a blog.
PASS — it’s best to not invest your time or resources on a potential scam.
4. Action vs. Reward
What are you making at your current job? What did you make at your last job? Rate of pay is a big tell-tale sign of possible suspicious activity.
Too many/big promises: Work-from-home jobs that promise big payouts for little to no action are almost always too good to be true.
Lucrative work in little time with almost no training? Sorry, but it doesn’t really exist. There’s no magic, make money instantly, lucky circumstance you will ever find. There’s easy work and hard work with good pay and great pay. It all requires time and energy.
Let me be real here — Working from home does, in fact, require dedication and commitment. It’s still work.
There are stay-at-home jobs out there that could potentially be your chance-of-a-lifetime, but they all require hard work. Weigh the action required against the reward and see just how unreal it seems.
Realistic “Warnings” are a good sign. There’s no one-size-fits-all career that will make you a millionaire overnight, and being upfront about that is truthful. Transparency is key.
Free content is also a good sign. Rather than give you worthwhile content and information, work-at-home scams typically ask for money before you get anything valuable from them.
SPEAKING OF FREE CONTENT – HAVE YOU WATCHED THE FREE TRAINING VIDEO FOR ASPIRING PHOTO EDITORS?
5. Do Your Research
There are so many legitimate work-from-home opportunities out there, and you’ll find that a lot of them have real earning potential. There are however, many, many more that are fraudulent dead ends that are looking to extort money from innocent people. The only way to get to the bottom and determine, for yourself, if it’s the real deal is by doing your research.
You have to start from a place of complete doubt. Don’t trust anything being said. Then get on the internet and search your heart out.
- Search “company name” + “scam” and see what you get. Often times, this is enough to get some honest info from people that have been down the same road.
- Reviews: Reviews are a great place to get info. Just note, some companies might not have an extensive review history because of their age, though still worth checking.
- Phone a Friend: Ask for opinions from people you know! The internet is great, and all, but sometimes you just have to reach out to someone you think might be in the know on the subject. Show them the gig and get their opinion! A second set of eyes is always good.
- Reach out to the company: This is kind of a no-brainer. If you have questions, just ask. Just know that most businesses get all kinds of emails daily, and most of those pertain to, well, real business. Be friendly and courteous and see what you get back in return. An email asking “is this real or a scam” might not get someone’s valuable attention, but a professional reach out asking other realistic worthwhile questions could produce some info.
While each of these tools should help you definitively determine if your remote job opportunity is legitimate or not, if you find yourself in a place where you have to use all five of these tools to figure out if someone is phishing for your wallet, you might just be better off passing on that opportunity.
Real, awesome, work-at-home job opportunities make you feel good about them.
They’re inviting, honest, and transparent. We’re looking for opportunities that are upfront about the effort required, because they will require effort and being realistic is trustworthy.
You can often immediately see the real people behind good brands, and there is time, effort and energy put into their side of the connection. Businesses that are upfront in their promises are quality businesses.
If you’re not constantly worrying that you’re being scammed, then you might very well be in good hands.