Can you spot an online scam?
Scams, scams and more scams, that's the reality in almost any kind of job, yet, online jobs are easier to scam these days, it would appear. In today's economic climate, it is far easier to fall for cheap promises and rewards and the guarantee of regular earnings which usually turn out to be nothing of the sort. This only makes it more difficult for the genuine job searcher to distinguish between real opportunities and the fake scams. The reason? Scammers have created more complex schemes to make their fraudulent online jobs appear legitimate. Unfortunately, you only find that out once you've paid up front. So how can you avoid these online scams? How can you spot an online job that is legitimate and one that you should run a mile from?
There are some telltale warning signs of online job scams. If you identify any of them in an online job advert, move on and don't look back. You're better safe than sorry. Signs:
1. The job requires you to pay money upfront. (if you are buying information or a franchise or software etc, then you would of course pay money up front, but NOT for a job). If a potential employer makes a charge for job information, kit, training or recruiting you, it probably is a scam. Let's be realistic, you don't pay an employer; the employer pays you.
2. A legitimate company normally doesn't have to promote its legitimacy. So if the advert drones on about its legitimacy and less on the company and benefits, beware. Look out for themtrying too hard to be legitimate.
3. Big promises of high earnings and quick cash. If a job says, "make a fantastic income and earn $1000 weekly." or something similar, move on and don't stop...it's not going to happen; not with an online job. The reality is, an online business CAN make you good money quickly, but no JOB can promise you fast big money...and keep that promise. It takes time and hard work for an online business, it's virtually impossible for an online job.
4. No experience or skill required to get started. Surely a proper job needs to be done by a qualified person. If the advert states that this is easy and requires little effort on your part, guess what...move on. A proper employer simply wouldn't hire someone who was looking for a lazy way out, no, they would want to hire someone fit for the job and eager to work, otherwise they would waste their money.
5. Did you approach them or did they approach you? If an offer comes from an unsolicited email for a job you know you haven't applied to then it is most often a scam. Unsolicited email messages themselves are quite suspicious.
6. Is the website professional and valid? A legitimate business is happy to provide complete contact details, including telephone and email in its website. If these are not available, it is an indicator that it could be a scam. Has the website identified the company with a history and something along the lines of 'about us'? If not, why not. If this is the case, go cautiously.
Good practice. Ensure you conduct thorough research on any jobs that you are approaching online. Some will be glaringly obvious that they are in fact legitimate, whereas at the opposite end of the scale, thorough investigation is needed. Don't be afraid to look up the company name and the word "scam" on Google or any other search engine. The results can often save you time, money and frustration.
Contact the potential employer. Again, don't be afraid to ask all the important details about the job such as the benefits and any other details not mentioned in the advert. If the answers you get are vague at all, you should be extremely cautious and move on. An honest employer will be only too happy to divulge all the important information.
Critically,ask for references, perhaps from several areas. This may seem an overkill at first, but it's not. Get references from employees and suppliers too if the 'position' warrants it. Ask them how it is working out for them being employed by this company. Their answers should help you discover whether this job is a scam. Remember, be very careful when taking on a potential online job, as working online scams are increasing steadily.