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The Internet has made it very easy for scam artists to trick people into all sorts of things and “work from home scams” have been popping up all over the place.

While this does mean you should be more cautious when looking for work from home opportunities, you certainly shouldn’t avoid working from home altogether. There are plenty of excellent and legitimate opportunities out there. It’s all about knowing the warning signs and spotting them before you get sucked in.

Take this advice on how to spot a scam and where to find legitimate opportunities and to avoid becoming a victim of a scam.

How Are Scams Conducted?

Most commonly, work from home scams are advertised through emails, advertisements and billboards or through social networking. They generally require you to pay for something upfront before you can start the job and, once you have transferred the money, they give you nothing and become uncontactable.

How to Spot a Scam

Here are some telltale signs, common with many scams that are out there:

  • No legitimate business name: If you see an employment opportunity advertised or someone contacts you directly, the first thing to do is look for a business name.  If there is only a person’s name, no business number and no licensing (ABN, ACN, Pty Ltd or similar), proceed with caution.
  • No online presence:  The majority of work from home opportunities are web-based so there is simply no excuse for a business without a website. Likewise, most businesses are engaged with social networking so you can search for the business name on Google and see what comes up. If there is no online presence whatsoever, start to ask more questions.
  • Unrecognisable sources:  Where did you receive the offer?  If you receive a job advertisement via email that is not from a source you recognise, immediately be wary. Similarly, direct messages on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter from an unknown source should generally be ignored, as they are not real job opportunities.
  • Vague description of job and pay:  Any advertisement that only very vaguely spells out the pay and job requirements is a possible scam. If a selection criteria is not present and a CV not requested, there is little chance this is a real job opportunity.
  • Requests for Money:  No real job will ask you to transfer money to them to start up. Alarm bells should ring the second anyone asks you for funds for registration, a start-up kit or for any other reason.

Where to Find Legitimate Positions

–          Use established sites such as www.lifestylecareers.com.au or www.wahm.com.au whose niche and speciality is work at home employment and opportunities.

–          Go through recruitment agencies; and

–          Word of mouth – ask friends and family to keep an ear out.

What to Do if You’re Still Unsure

If you’ve gone through all the steps and the business checks out, but you’re still feeling unsure, just try to get in contact with the owner. If you’re worried about only having online contact, mention you would like to discuss the opportunity over the phone and would like a contact number. Any legitimate business owner seeking an employee will happily oblige and you will be able to enter the opportunity with your mind at ease.

Make an informed choice and do your research. Keep up to date with the latest scams, visit Scamwatch and Behind MLM.

Remember there are no get-rich-quick schemes and beware of job offers that require you to pay an upfront fee and beware of products or schemes that claim to guarantee income or winnings

In closing, treat working from home like any other position, don’t let people ask too much of you for too little and be aware of your rights. All it takes is a little bit of caution and you will find the opportunities are endless.

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