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Avoid Work From Home Scams

February 20, 2009

Lately, I’ve been researching ways to pick up some extra income and I’ve noticed a lot of “Work From Home” scams out there online. I’ll admit I was lured in at first and spent some time reading testimonials and watching promotional videos. But it became all too clear to me that these websites seemed to make very big promises but not explain any details as to how it all works until you offer up your credit card for a one-time fee. Here’s my take on the phenomenon, and ways to find out if the hype is true before shelling out your cash.

Learn to recognize scams.
There are some signals to look out for that will help you identify scams quickly. If you arrived on the page from an ad, chances are you’re on a site that earns it’s money by convincing you to pay for something that will promise to make you money. Note that the site had to pay for the ad that got you to their page, and that the money you’re paying them is likely to simply result in profit for them and loss for you. If you see a lot of empty, vague promises of instant income, but no concrete details as to how their program will do this for you, it’s likely a scam. Any legitimate company will be happy to explain their product to you in detail before you pay for it. The bottom line is that you should not have to buy anything to start making money online. It will take hard work, a lot of research, and much more time to start seeing results than these sites claim.

Keep an eye out for pyramid schemes.
This scam works by a site asking you to purchase instructions or materials that will make you money (such as stuffing envelopes) but you’re actually sent instructions to post a similar ad asking more people for money. This is illegal, as there is no actual good or service being offered, and can result in participants being prosecuted for fraud. Stay far away from these sites.

Most legitimate opportunities to earn money online will be posted on job boards or other classified listing sites. You should be interacting with a real live person who can explain the project or job to you, and who can give you details as to how to get paid. Don’t do any work until there is a formal contract in place that guarantees you will be paid for services rendered.

Do your homework.
If you find a site that you truly believe is a legitimate opportunity, do some research on the company first. Sites like SiteJabber list reviews from people who have actually done business with these websites, and you can find out for yourself how reliable their claims of quick profits are. If that doesn’t yield any results, try a quick Google search of the site to find out if others have posted their experiences on personal blogs.

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