Work from Home Scams and How to Avoid Them

5 Types of Work from Home Scams and How to Avoid Them

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5 Types of Work from Home Scams and How to Avoid Them. There has been quite an increase in work-from-home scams. These types of scams describe situations where deceitful individuals create fake job postings that they’ll profit from.

They attempt to steal your personal information or your financial information and use it for their own benefit. As these jobs become more popular, scammers continuously target this market with seemingly lucrative job offers that unsuspecting job seekers fall for.

Increase in People Working from Home

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, a significant number of people all over the world worked from home. As Statista reports, before the coronavirus pandemic, 17% of U.S. employees worked from home 5 days or more per week, which increased to 44% during the pandemic.

Thanks to major technological advancements over the years, such as faster internet, more advanced personal laptops, and the digitization of most job roles, working from home has been on an upward trajectory in the last 15 years.

Between 2005 and 2018, remote work had grown by about 173%, as reported by global workplace analytics.  This is 11% faster than the rest of the workforce.

According to the American Time Use Survey of 2015, a total of 73% of workers did a portion or all of their work from home.

So with this in mind, what are some of the reasons for the meteoric rise in the popularity of work from home jobs?

1.    Flexibility

Today’s workers prefer the flexibility that working from home offers. Remote work allows people to tailor their work hours to fit their lifestyle and not the other way around, as was the case in the traditional work environment.

This flexibility is one of the reasons for an increase in work from home jobs. According to a report by Statista, 32% of respondents name a flexible schedule as the biggest benefit of working remotely.

2.    Increased productivity

Working remotely can be quite productive. This is because it eliminates distractions common in the workplace. Such distractions include office gossip and chatter, as well as impromptu meetings. Also, workers are happier, and this boost in morale often translates to increased productivity.

For this reason, more companies are switching to work-from-home options.  in order to ensure their employees stay more productive. According to one report, 50% of employers indicate increased productivity as the main advantage of remote work.

3.    Technological advancements

Decades ago, it wasn’t possible to have meetings and conferences without participants being present in the same room. It also wasn’t possible to access resources online and communicate fast and conveniently.

This made working from home unfeasible. But thanks to technological advancements such as fast internet, video-conferencing, and the development of portable personal computers, remote working has become quite popular and feasible for most organizations.

4.    Better collaboration

A work-from-home setting removes geographical restrictions and enables people to work with partners over long distances. With bright tools and communication plans, teams can collaborate in real-time, despite being in different time zones. For this reason, remote working has become popular.

5.    Fewer commute times

The average commute time in the U.S. is 27.1 minutes. This is about an hour spent getting to and from work each day. Remote work makes it possible to skip this commute, allowing employees to focus more on their job tasks.

In the long run, this increases productivity and is one of the reasons for its popularity with employers and employees alike.

5 Types of Work from Home Scams

Sadly, the increased popularity of work from home attracts many scammers who lure unknowing people into their trap.

Before being drawn into any job opportunities you are being offered, you should check the person’s public record information. You need to make sure they are who they claim to be. If not, then that’s likely a scam.

Some of the common types of such scams include:

1.    Pyramid schemes

Pyramid schemes involve the recruitment of other members into some type of money scheme. They can be presented in the form of a job ad. However, you will be asked to recommend others to the job to earn a profit from them joining, thus building a pyramid.

The problem with pyramid schemes is that the product or service that current members sell to induct new ones is rarely rooted in anything of substance. If you become involved in hopes of earning an honest income, you will find out that the product or service is illegitimate.

At this point, it will often be too late. Many of these pyramid schemes will require you to use a lot of your own money on their “products or services,” which is the bigger picture of how the scam works.

2.    Surveys

This scam makes the promise that you will get paid for your opinions, and for filling out surveys. You will be asked to pay a fee to access these surveys.

The idea is that the more money you pay, the more surveys you will get and the more money you earn. But here’s the thing: if a company actually wanted your opinion, they wouldn’t have you pay to fill out their survey.

3.    Sales/telemarketing

In this type of scam, a company will get in touch to help you sign up for a work-from-home sales job. They’ll often give you a call to sell you brand-name products at below retail value. You will be expected to resell the products to other people at a profit.

Before accepting this job, you should check if the person calling you for the job is the real owner of the phone number and if they are legitimate. After you order the products, they then deliver them to your door, and you pay cash on delivery.

With excitement and the prospect of reselling the products for a profit, you open the box only to find unusable junk! What’s worse is that you’ll never get a refund since the COD requirement is that you pay before inspecting a product.

4.    Fake Certificates

Some scammers, disguised as employers, will approach you with a job offer. They’ll then tell you that the job involves a training course for which a certificate will be awarded at the end. After which you can start working.

The only catch is that you have to pay an upfront fee to receive that training. So, you end up paying the fee and are taken through a bogus training course, at the end of which they give you a fake certificate that isn’t at all useful.

5.    Reshipping scams

In this type of scam, a scammer will pose as a representative from a shipping company, and they’ll offer you a job reshipping packages. Once they hire you, they tell you your job is to receive packages at home and discard the original packaging and receipts.

You are then expected to repackage the products and reship them to an address they give you. These products are often bought using stolen credit cards, and reshipping the products is never a real job.

As FTC reports, sometimes the company will say you’ll get your first paycheck after working for a month, but the paycheck will never arrive. The “job” is a scam, and if you hand over your personal or credit card information, you might have to deal with identity theft or money theft problems.

Signs of a Scam

1.    Instant approval

If the “employers” offer you the job instantly without determining if you’re qualified for it, then it’s probably a scam. A job offer without an interview, even a work from home one, is a major red flag.

Keep in mind that if the interview is done over the phone, that isn’t enough to remove all doubt that it’s a scam. You should do your due diligence and check the person’s public information to make sure it’s a real company.

2.    Overeager employers

One of the things that will alert you to a remote working scam is if the “employer” is too eager to hire you. If they are too very keen to hire you without verifying your work experience, or they don’t ask for references, then it’s probably one of the most notorious work from home scams.

3.    Too Good to Be True Salaries

If the work-from-home job promises to pay you a lot of money for little to no work, then chances are it’s a scam. After all, we all know that if something is too good to be true, then it almost always is. Be wary if you are promised quick money and drastic income changes overnight.

4.    Request for an Upfront Investment

Be suspicious if you’re asked for money up-front with the promise that you will make it back many times over. As Learn How To Become reports, the Federal Trade Commission describes promises of a big income working from home.

You need to be wary if the opportunity involves an up-front fee. If the job requires you to pay upfront for training, certifications, directories, or materials, then it’s a scam.

What to Do When You’re a Victim

If you fall victim to a work-from-home scam, you should take action right away, especially if they scam you out of money or important personal information. So, what should you do?

  1. Firstly, you should immediately contact your financial institutions to alert them of the situation.
  2. Make contact with the Federal Trade Commission and file a complaint. Alternatively, call 1-877-382-4357 to report the case and seek assistance.
  3. Report the scam to the BBB Scam Tracker.
  4. Alert the job site to the fraudulent job listing if you found the opportunity online. Many job boards have a support email that will remove the listing after investigation.
  5. Contact and file an official report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Remember, caution is better than regret. Always check the person’s public information to make sure that they are legitimate and that the job is also legitimate.

If you are a mom looking to work from home, you can look at these 12 best work from home jobs to avoid being scammed.

Conclusion

The tips in this article should help you avoid work from home scams. But always trust your instincts. As an avid job seeker, you should have a trained eye when it comes to deciphering what’s real and what’s fake. Your experience in reviewing endless job postings, together with your instincts, should help you identify work from home scams a mile away.

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Author: Ben Hartwig

Ben is a Web Operations Executive at InfoTracer who takes a wide view from the whole system. He authors guides on entire security posture, both physical and cyber. Enjoys sharing the best practices and does it the right way!

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