Red flags that a work-from-home opportunity is actually a scam

The past few weeks have taught us that many jobs can be successfully done from home. There is a host of tools and resources that make remote working and communicating easy. Recent surveys have shown that many Canadians would like this trend of remote work to continue even after the economy opens back up.

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Unfortunately, not all working from home opportunities are legit. Scammers have used fake jobs to get money from unsuspecting candidates or to use them in their money laundering, identity fraud, or pyramid schemes.

Here are some warning signs to watch out for

You can be hired without an interview. While during the COVID-19 lock down, most companies have abandoned face-to-face job interviews, they still won’t hire people without even speaking with them. If you are offered the job without a video or even a phone interview, it probably not legit.

Promises of amazing pay for little effort. If the job sounds too good to be true, well, you know how it goes. Watch out for jobs that imply you can make a great deal of money for relatively easy tasks such as stuffing envelopes or forwarding packages or emails. These are often pyramid schemes, or identity-theft operations.

Any job that requests money upfront. If the employer asks you to pay for software, equipment, training, or supplies before you have the privilege of starting to work, take it as a red flag.

The job posting lists earning potential rather than actual earning. Some ‘marketing’ roles ask you to purchase products upfront yourself in order to resell them to others before you see any profit. In this case, you might actually make more money if you manage sell the products, but the risk is all on you. The company made its profit when they unloaded the goods on you. Commission-only roles are a risky proposition.

Beware of long periods of unpaid training. Especially for fairly easy jobs. This can be a technique to simply get you to work for free. If you have to do several weeks of unpaid work in order ‘finish your training’ it could be a scam.

Other red flags to watch out for:

    – The job involves moving money around, transferring funds, or cashing cheques.

    – The person representing the company is writing to you from a free email client like Hotmail or Gmail.

    – The company doesn’t have a corporate website. Be sure to research potential employers before handing over personal information.

There are plenty of legitimate jobs that can be done remotely. And given the current situation, more and more people are looking for opportunities to earn some income from the safety of their home. Unfortunately, there are some shady characters and scams out there, so be careful.

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