So, you’ve been thinking about working from home, but you’re feeling wary. Are remote jobs legit? How can you tell which remote jobs are legit and which ones are scams? In this blog post, I am sharing 7 tips you can use to help you determine whether a remote job is legit or a scam.
Working from home, earning money without ever changing out of your pajamas, or being able to stay home with your kids; the idea can be extremely appealing. But the unfortunate truth is there are people out there who take advantage of this by creating remote job scams.
The good news is a lot of the scam jobs share a lot of similar traits and tactics to lure people into their scams. Once you know what these traits and tactics are, it is so much easier to spot them and avoid them during your job search.
Finding a new job is already challenging on its own. Make it easier for yourself by understanding what to look for to avoid getting duped by a job scam.
What are work-from-home scams?
Work-from-home scams can take shape in many ways including:
- Getting you to pay them for start-up costs, training, etc. They will take your money and then you’ll likely never hear from them again.
- Getting ahold of your personal information so that they can commit identity theft. Always be cautious when someone is asking for your personal information.
- Having you do work but then never pay you for your time.
Some of these work-from-home scams are blatantly obvious, while others are much more cleverly disguised. The good news is, no matter how good the disguise is, there are ways to tell them apart from legitimate jobs once you know what to look for.
How To Tell If A Remote Job Is Legit Or A Scam
I have included 7 things you can look out for during your job hunt to spot traits and tactics that are common among most job scams. Be sure to keep an eye out for all of these things during your search to help you avoid getting involved in such a scam.
Know About The Company Reputation
One of the main indications that will help you determine whether or not a remote job is legit or just another scam is the company’s reputation. If the company has previous issues with scam allegations, this should be a massive red flag for you.
Reputable companies are much less likely to offer a scam job as they will not want to do anything that would implicate that reputation. As such, these companies will be much more likely to provide you with proof or assurance that the job is legitimate. This can include comprehensive job descriptions, complimentary training, positive customer reviews, etc.
You can also take matters into your own hands by doing thorough research.
Reach out to the individual you have been sharing communications with to ask more about the products sold, who works for the company, customer reviews, etc.
We are also lucky to have access to so much information online. A quick search in Google will show you what is being said about the company on forums, customer reviews, what previous employees have to say, etc. You can also look to see if the company has ever previously been reported as a scam.
If your research comes up empty, treat this as a red flag. Reputable companies will still show up in your research, even if they are brand new. Whereas companies offering scam jobs will do their best to stay hidden.
If there are a lot of negative customer reviews complaining that they were scammed, this should also be treated as a red flag. It could indicate a larger scam chain where not only are customers being scammed, but the company is also trying to scam people looking for jobs.
The Offer Seems Too Good To Be True
Let me just be blunt about this. If the other seems too good to be true, then it likely is. One thing that a lot of scam companies will leverage to their advantage is our human instinct to find the path of least resistance. This is done by offering things that are easy, accessible, etc.
Did they offer you the job without even having a conversation with you or asking to look at your previous work?
Are they offering you an obscenely large amount of money for work that doesn’t typically pay that much in that role or industry?
Did they tell you that you can earn this money all the while only having to work a couple of hours here and there, or having an extremely flexible schedule?
These are all examples of offers that are simply too good to be true. Be sure to keep an eye out for these kinds of offers, and always follow your gut instinct on this.
They Require Payment To Get Started
Any company that asks you for any kind of payment to quote on quote, “get started with the company”, is likely a scam. Please, run in the opposite direction of these companies.
It is common for companies that are spam to say that you need to pay for your training, materials, products, etc. to get started. However, most legitimate companies will pay for these things themselves.
They Utilize Pressure Tactics
One strategy that scam companies will use to essentially bully you into working for them is pressure tactics. These tactics could include trying to bribe you, making offers that seem too good to be true, threatening you in any way, creating a sense of false urgency, etc.
If a company is applying any of these pressure tactics, it is because they want to trick you for their benefit. Always listen to your gut. If you feel like you are being pressured and you are uncomfortable, then trust your instincts and decline the job offer.
The Details Are Giving You Red Flags
There are many small details that you may notice when learning more about a company or a job that can indicate if a job is a scam or not. Here are some common examples.
Using A Personal Email Address
Most legitimate businesses will have a professional email address with their business name in the address. If they are using a personal email, this could indicate a scam.
An example of a professional email address could be firstname.lastname@example.org.
If they are using an email such as email@example.com, run! This is a personal email that any scammer can create.
Emails with a lot of characters and numbers in them can also be a red flag.
Brand New Website
If a website is brand new, this should be a bit of a red flag. That is because spam companies will often cover their tracks by shutting down old sites and starting new ones so that they are harder to track.
To check how old a site is, use a domain age checker.
If you find that the site is brand new, simply take some time to do more research on the company, the founder, etc.
Vague Job Description
If it isn’t extremely clear what exactly the job description is and the company won’t provide you with a more clear description, then this could indicate that the remote job is a scam.
Poor Grammar, Spelling Errors, Etc.
Does their webpage, correspondence, job listings, etc., have a lot of spelling errors and grammar issues? While this doesn’t always indicate a company is illegitimate, it is a small red flag.
If you see this, I would encourage you to do more research before applying for or accepting any such job offer.
You Never Applied For The Job
If people are reaching out to you for remote jobs you never actually applied for, or even worse, jobs that aren’t even in your industry, always take time to do the research on whether this is a legitimate offer or not.
It is worth noting that recruitment and referrals are common. However, anyone who is reaching out to you this way for a job opportunity should be able to substantiate where and how they discovered you for this role. And again, take your time to research not only the company and job but also the individual who is recruiting you.
Follow Your Intuition
This has already been said a few times, but I cannot stress the importance of this one enough. Always trust your intuition. If something in your gut is telling you it’s not right, then listen to that. This could mean turning down the job or taking the time to do more research.
Where should I look for legitimate remote jobs?
Unfortunately, scam jobs are everywhere. Whether you are on LinkedIn, Fivver, Indeed, etc., you should always keep an eye out for those jobs that are potentially a scam. It is also common to find these jobs on social media like Facebook, YouTube, etc.
However, there are some platforms that do a really good job at vetting job opportunities to remove ones that may be potential scams. Here are the ones I personally recommend.
FlexJobs focuses on finding high-quality freelance job opportunities for its users. They do this by thoroughly researching the company, the position, etc. They include all their research and findings in the job listing as well, so you can review this before you apply to make sure it is a company you want to work with.
If you want to learn more about how they vet the jobs listed on their site, go here to read through the process and meet the team doing the work.
They also host other features such as career advice, webinars, and more. To learn more about FlexJobs, go here.
Another company I highly recommend is TheMomProject. To ensure the company posting a job is legit, they actually have someone on their team personally reach out to the company to make sure the job is a good fit for their job-seekers. In other words, they make sure the job/company is legit before the job even goes live on their site. Plus, it’s free to use for job-seekers.
Although not as well vetted as FlexJobs or TheMomProject, Remote.Co also researches the job listings on their site to remove as many scam jobs as possible.
No matter where you are looking for a remote job, always make sure you are being diligent and safe in your search, during your meetings, and in your communications. As long as you always keep the tips shared in this blog post at the front of your mind, you will have the best possible chance of avoiding the scam remote job opportunities.
I hope that this blog post has given you more confidence in your work-from-home job search. I am confident that as long as you know what to look for, you will absolutely be able to find a legitimate remote job that you can do from home.