December 10, 2009
More ways to avoid work-from-home scams
Come January, many of us will try to tackle that new year's resolution of earning a little extra cash on the side. Snagging some home-based work may seem like the most logical solution. But the Web's so riddled with work-from-home scams that even Google has joined the fight against online fraudsters.
So how does a hopeful teleworker tell a legitimate work-from-home opportunity from a bogus one?
I've written about avoiding work-from-home scams before (earlier tips here and here). But since you can never arm yourself with too much information on avoiding those ubiquitous online scammers, I thought it high time we revisit the topic.
For fresh suggestions, I checked with Michael Haaren, co-author with Christine Durst of the book Work at Home Now: The No-Nonsense Guide to Finding Your Perfect Home-Based Job, Avoiding Scams, and Making a Great Living. Here's what he had to say:
Use free Web tools to check that sites are legit. If you're unsure whether a work-from-home site is on the up and up, check the site owner on Whois.domaintools.com. If there's no owner or company name listed, that's a potential red flag. You can also use the Web tool TinEye.com to detect whether a photo of a supposed happy customer who's endorsed the site is just a stock photo -- an indicator that that something's amiss.
Turn to niche-specific sites for job listings. Instead of Craigslist, which is rife with scams, turn to sites specific to the work you want to do. For example, ProBlogger.net posts legit listings for home-based blogging jobs. LinguistList.org features listings for translation projects. And MTjobs.com lists medical transcription jobs you can do from home.
Be careful what you search for. If you're using a search engine to scour the Web for home-based listings, choose your search times wisely. Phrases like "candidate will work from home" and "this is a home-based position" often appear in legit telework listings. On the flip side, bogus work-from-home listings frequently use phrases like "work from home," "work at home," and "make money will you sleep."
Don't believe every e-mail you read. Posting your resume online means your e-mail address could be plucked by more scammers. This in turn could lead to more too-good-to-be-true job opportunities hitting your inbox. (Example: "I made $10,000 sitting on my couch last month -- ask me how!") "Fortunately," Haaren says, "everyone has a magic bullet -- the Delete button."
For many more tips on how to find a home-based job, see Work at Home Now, which was just published in November. The book is loaded with details on which jobs and employers best lend themselves to telecommuting, where to find these positions online (complete with Web addresses), and how to steer clear of those countless online scams.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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