The internet has opened up a plethora of work-from-home opportunities, yet alongside them come plenty of online scammers that are looking to trick and fool you.

When you may never actually meet the person you are working with, the person who has hired you and who is paying for your hard work, it can be difficult to establish any level of trust. And when you are aware of the fact that there are people out there with dishonest intentions – well, it becomes even harder.

Instead of giving up on finding a great work-from-home job online, focus on figuring out if the job is legitimate or not. Our guide is here to help you with that.

1. Red Flags to Watch Out For

There are a number of signals that can very quickly tell you a job is not legitimate:

  • It sounds too good to be true. If someone is promising very unrealistically high incomes for very little to no work, it’s probably a scam. There is no legitimateget rich quick” job out there. Getting rich involves a lot of work.
  • You have to pay to play. Any job that requires you to pay to become a part of the company is a scam and should be avoided.
  • The company can’t be found online. If you can’t find any data about your potential employer online, you are better off just ignoring the offer. While not all companies will have a website, virtually all will have some sort of online presence, at least on social media.
  • They are asking for a lot of personal information. While there is certainly some information you will need to provide at an interview, questions that seem to go too deep into your personal life, or very specific data being asked of you, can be a sign of potential identity theft. Don’t provide any information you do not feel comfortable providing.

2. Read the Job Description Carefully

The job description should tell you everything you need to know: whether it is a part-time or a full-time position, what sorts of hours are expected, what time zones you will be working in, and what is expected of you.

True, some companies will not provide all of this information in the ad itself, but they will be ready to answer all the questions you may have. Platforms like Upwork are also full of ads that give you virtually no information about the job itself, where those posting the job are not sure what they need.

If a job sounds like a scam and does not provide enough detail, you can choose to enquire further, or simply skip the post altogether.

3. Check What Kinds of Qualifications are Required

If someone does not care about your qualifications at all – there is no education required, no specific skills, they don’t care what your personality is like, and are willing to start working with you no matter what – it’s most likely a scam.

While it’s true that there are jobs online that don’t require a very specific set of skills, like data entry, online research, and so on, an employer should still care about hiring the best person for the job. Even if that merely means finding someone they click with.

4. Check the Company’s Details

Before taking on a job, make sure you research the company. Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Where are they registered?
  • Is their address fake?
  • Do they have a phone number? 
  • What happens when you email the contact on their website?

Google the company’s name, and you might find people on forums and other boards discussing a scam or bad treatment related to this company. The more you can find out up front, the better poised you will be later on.

5. Ask a Lot of Questions

Whether the job seems to be a legitimate offer or not, make sure you ask all the questions that come to mind before you take on the job.

Everything from hours, to payments, to the people you will be working with and the expectations the company has for you should be covered before you agree to anything.

If anything in the answers you get sounds fishy, or if some questions persistently remain unanswered, it is more likely you are dealing with a scam.

6. What Kinds of Jobs Can You Do From Home?

There are also jobs out there that might sound like a scam, but which are actually perfectly legitimate. Let’s explore two examples.

For one, day trading can sound like a complete fraud. However, in reality, day trading is a very legit way to earn a living, if you approach it correctly. You will not get rich overnight, and you can’t expect to make a living after a day or two. If that’s what someone is offering, that is a scam. But if the incomes sound realistic, give it a go.

Data entry and online research are also often a possible scam. However, there are plenty of small digital agencies that need someone to put in a couple of hours of manual work to find something online. Anything from the contact information of certain companies (for lead generation) to the search terms someone is ranking for can be part of a legit job. If the company answers your questions and has a positive online presence, they are likely okay to work with.

Final Thoughts

If you are diligent about doing your research, and if you are logical and cautious enough, you should very easily be able to spot a scam. In truth, most scammers are not even that good at hiding the fact that they are not a legitimate company and that they are not offering anything tangible. Just keep your eyes open, trust your instincts, and happy job hunting!

Featured image credit: Unsplash.com

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Natasha Lane

Natasha is a web designer, a lady of a keyboard and huge tech geek. Her expertise could be summed up in IT, branding and business growth-related topics. Natasha is always happy to share her knowledge by writing some awesome content. To see what she is up to next, check out her Twitter dashboard.

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