Career Advice

5 Ways to Easily Spot the Most Common Work-from-Home Scams

By: Mariah Rogers
Nov 19, 2021 • 2 min read

Work-from-home frauds have always existed, but COVID-19 has brought them to the forefront. One reason is that remote employment has become more widespread than ever before, making it more difficult to distinguish between a genuine job post and a fraud. And since many people are financially challenged, they become more vulnerable to scammers. 

Work-from-home scammers can steal your money and put your identity at risk. But the good news is that there are preventative measures you can take to avoid these malicious parties. If you’re currently on a job hunt, here’s everything you need to know to prevent being a victim of identity theft.

Work-from-Home Scams and How They Work

Most work-from-home scams begin with a job search post or an email from a purported recruiter that seems like a fantastic opportunity: Make a lot of money working from home with little or no experience. 

The company may appear eager to hire, urging you to accept the position and promising you can start immediately. There will often be little information about the employer available online, but fraudsters will occasionally pretend to work for a well-known organization.

Here are some of the most common work-from-home job scams.

1. Fake Forms

A scammer may urge you to complete forms or employment documents, giving them your personal information that they can use to steal your identity. Of course, actual employers need this information as well, so keep an eye out for how you’ll be requested to offer it. 

2. Paycheck Scams

In a payroll scam, the fake employer will give you a cheque for a larger amount than you are owed. They’ll say it was an error and would want you to refund them for the overcharge. You transfer the money, but the original check bounces, and you receive nothing in return. 

3. Upfront Fees 

Some scammers can entice you with the promise of lucrative home-based employment, only to demand payment for specific training, certification, software, supplies, or equipment before you can even begin. Unfortunately, despite you paying the costs, the task never comes to fruition. 

How to Avoid Work-from-Home Scams

As the saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Here are some red flags to look out for:

1. Insufficient Details 

You should be able to validate the job ad by contacting the company’s office or HR department. Moreover, the company should have a professional-looking website and social media profiles. Take it as a warning if you can’t locate any information about the job or the employer online.

2. Lack of Communication 

You should anticipate meeting with at least one corporate representative over the phone or online during the actual hiring process.

3. Costs Incurred Upfront 

You are expected to be paid by your employer, not the other way around. It’s probably a fraud if the employer requires you to pay any money up-front before starting your employment. 

4. Rushed Hiring Process 

It’s a red flag if the “recruiter” does not conduct an interview, puts pressure on you to accept the position right away, or refuses to answer your valid questions about the position or the company.

5. Negative Feedback

Look up the company’s name online. If they are a fraud, you’ll probably discover warnings on job boards and bad reviews on sites like Glassdoor.

The Bottom Line 

Work-from-home scams target those looking for work and might be especially appealing to those who are unemployed. You can protect yourself against fraudsters by taking your time in investigating the firm, exercising common sense, or using legitimate job hiring apps in your job search. 

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