Anyone who has tried to find a job online has no doubt come across hundreds of work at home scams.
Does this crap look familiar?
You’ve probably seen similar headlines at some point in your search.
Easy money, little pay, no experience, millions of dollars.
Sure, it sounds nice. But it’s just an attempt to rob you of your cash.
Does the job pass the sniff test?
You can easily save yourself thousands of dollars and countless headaches by asking yourself some simple questions:
“Does this seem too good to be true?”
“If this was so easy to get rich, why isn’t everyone doing it?”
Basically, USE COMMON SENSE and TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.
That’s really all there is to avoid getting scammed these days.
Stick with reputable companies and positions you qualify to fill.
No one is going to pay an inexperienced worker thousands of dollars per month to do unskilled work.
It just doesn’t happen.
Even in 2018, work from home scams continued to plague thriving online communities of virtual assistants, freelance writers, programmers, and so on.
In a recent survey by FlexJobs, it showed that at least 17% of jobseekers were scammed at least once when looking for a job online.
And the only way to avoid them is by being well-informed and up-to-date about these scams.
The Goal of a Work at Home Scam Artist
Scammers only have one goal: to steal other people’s money.
They can do this by two ways:
- Steal your credit card details, bank information, or log-ins to your financial accounts and directly rob you from under your noses
- Steal your information and personal data
Work from home scams may seem like any ordinary job post, but they will try to fool you into paying for something that’s actually free, handing over your financial & personal details, or clicking a link that leads to a malicious site.
They aim to strip as much cash from you as possible.
10 Most Common Work at Home Scams in 2018
Remember, go with your gut instincts.
“This is too good to be true.”
If you ever find yourself thinking that, even for a second, you’re more than likely right.
1. MLM with a Pyramid Scheme twist
Multi-level marketing aren’t all scams. However, if the MLM turns into pyramid marketing, this is one of the oldest work from home scams you can find online.
If the MLM company earns mostly from sold products or services, it can be a legit MLM company.
This doesn’t matter if the products being sold seem useless, or if they are questionably priced.
However, these companies become a scam if the revenue stream comes from membership fees of new members/sellers.
The companies who do this push you to recruit more people into the company.
2. Link Posting Jobs
Link posting isn’t a real job, but scammers would like jobseekers to believe that it is.
Link posting was part of a comprehensive internet marketing plan.
In the world of SEO and IM, backlinking used to help bring one website higher in the search engine results.
In theory, when multiple links of the same URL are posted across a wide range of sites, Google and other search engines would deem that website most relevant to a particular search term.
Another way scammers define link posting is as a tool for affiliate marketing.
With affiliate marketing, you post links of products in hopes of getting a commission whenever a buyer clicks on that link.
It’s a totally legitimate business model and the commissions are real.
However, the way link posting “companies” guarantee payment (when it is impossible to do so), or compute compensation (when you have no control of what links other people would click or not click) are bogus.
3. Fake Job Agencies
This one can have so many variations – such as agencies for government jobs or nursing jobs.
But one thing is clear: the “agency” asks you to pay a fee to either get access to a list of work from home jobs, or guarantee to actually land a position. Even legitimate agencies do not just hand out jobs to anyone.
While looking for work from home jobs seem overwhelming (the web is a massive place), know that you can apply for an online job, get interviewed and hired without paying a cent.
4. Check Cashing Jobs
No legitimate company will ever ask you to accept payments on their behalf. End of story.
I bet you received a version of the Nigerian check-cashing scheme via e-mail in the last 10 years.
If so, check-cashing jobs would be very familiar to you.
“Check-cashing scam” is a wide-ranging label and has a ton of variations, but they work the same way. In its oldest form, the scammer pays the victim a bad check.
This is how work from home scams with an element of check-cashing actually work:
- Jobseekers are sent the checks that will be used to pay for a product or service.
- Victims are instructed to deposit the check in their own banks, keep a portion of the “money” and send back the change via Western Union to the scammers. The check will bounce after it has been deposited because it’s fake.
- Victims not only lost money that they sent via wire transfer, but also have to repay the bank once the check clears.
Be very afraid of this scam.
It can actually land you in jail.
5. Package Forwarding or Reshipping Job Scams
Here’s another work from home scam that may actually make job seekers who fall for them criminals.
It has many names: package forwarding, re-shipping, package processing, and postal forwarding. The scam is presented as a job offer.
Those willing to do the “job” receive packages, which they will then send to another location (usually a foreign country).
Okay, doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
- Victims pay shipping charges out of their own pockets.
- Scammers pay victims with a big-amount fake check as reimbursement for the shipping fee and compensation for a job well done.
- Once the paycheck bounces, they must repay the bank (or face fraud charges).
- On top of it all, the products have been bought and paid for using stolen credit cards.
Basically, you’ve accepted goods purchased with a stolen credit card and identity, and then shipped them overseas to an anonymous scammer.
Victims of these work from home scams can be criminally liable, especially if they forwarded packages abroad and lied on U.S. Customs Service forms.
6. Social Media Job Scams
The premise of social media job scams is simple:
Anyone with a phone who could spend x amount of time on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or another social media platform can make $300, $500, $900 per day online.
Here’s the catch: you have to sign up for a scam company’s “system” or “program” that comes with a monthly fee to be able to start earning.
7. Handicraft Work Scams
People creating these work from home scams are heartless.
Handicraft work scams has been around for years, but continues to victimize people from around the world. Here’s how it works:
- Scammers advertise their need for workers to create crafts, assemble items, and product other materials by hand.
- Scammers promise to pay per-piece, as long as the final product is of quality made from top-notch sewing machines or other equipment.
- The catch: “workers” have to buy equipment and materials from the scammers. In most cases, the scammers close shop and never to be heard again.
- In other similar schemes, the scammers continue to fool the victims by letting them work on the orders only to be rejected for “low quality.”
8. Self-publishing Scams
The self-publishing industry blew up when Amazon encouraged everyone to write and sell a book on its platform.
Now, the self-publishing industry isn’t exclusive to Amazon. Many phony “indie publishing houses” can target prospective authors after thousands of dollars in hopes of getting published.
Know that there are legitimate publishing houses that can help the independent authors.
9. Data Entry Scams (and other Jobs with Easy Tasks for Huge Gains)
Data entry job scams are so appealing to jobseekers because it involves very simple tasks in exchange for big paychecks.
The fact is: data entry is real, but the job doesn’t pay even half as much as what these scammers promise.
In some cases, scammers sell their victims a one-of-a-kind data entry software for thousands of dollars.
Jobseekers who desperately want to work from home eventually bite the bait, and find out there is no job after all.
Data entry job scams work very similarly to other work from home scams like mystery shopping, medical billing, e-mail forwarding and so on.
The common element of these scams is the selling of a dream lifestyle. Most claim you can do the job anywhere (even on the beach) and earn either thousands of dollars or a passive income while doing so.
The saying, “if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is” holds true with these types of work-from-home scams.
10. Investment scams
Everyone knows there is money to be made online, but dealing with scrupulous people or groups will definitely shatter your dreams. Below are a few samples of work from home scams that involve some sort of investment:
Investors are duped into paying for a package that includes a website, hosting/domain, and maintenance for manning the online store.
The promise is a fully functional website with investors taking home a percentage of the transaction after every sale.
Unfortunately, no sales ever happen and the scammer never really did intend to maintain your ecommerce business.
Cryptocurrencies can easily slide into scam territory because the terminologies used are not for the ordinary person.
You’d have to be well-versed not only finance, but also in technology just so you can understand what cryptocurrency is all about.
While there are legitimate cryptocurrencies around, the scams are bigger in numbers. I’ve talked about this more comprehensively here, if you’re interested in investing your hard-earned money on one.
Making Money Online the Right Way
Don’t let these work from home scams scare you into trying out the amazing world of making money online.
You can co-exist with these scammers without being on the losing end. Make sure you are up-to-date with the schemes, scams and fake jobs to avoid being victimized.
Or begin with my updated list of 75 legitimate work from home jobs.