One thing can be said about scammers: they never let a good crisis pass them by. Such is the case with the COVID pandemic, which has led to an increase in the number of people looking for work-at-home job opportunities. While there are many legitimate work-at-home opportunities, it is essential to look at each one skeptically. Some are not so legitimate, with a sole purpose of liberating you from your money. Here are the red flags to look for:
- It is an online-only job requiring an upfront payment or the purchase of materials.
- It promises a very generous income.
- It is an online business with no physical location, valid contact information, website or social media presence.
- You never talk to a human being.
- They use a generic email account (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.).
- The word “scam” appears on the first page of a Google search of the name of the business.
These work-at-home jobs should be avoided:
- Data entry
- Check cashing
- Home assembly
- Envelope stuffing
- Rebate processing
- Medical billing
While some of these opportunities may be legitimate, they should be carefully scrutinized:
- Multi-level marketing (watch out for pyramid schemes)
- Conducting online surveys
- Mystery shopping
If you are considering a work-at-home opportunity, do your due diligence. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published Business Opportunity Rules to follow to ensure you get the information to determine if an opportunity is legit. If you think have come across a scam, you can report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).