Work from home scams are unfortunately more common now than ever in the wake of a global pandemic. As workers continue to look for flexible job opportunities that allow telecommuting, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns of work at home scams.
Here are some things you can do to spot these types of scams and how to get legal help if you or someone you know were scammed by a work-from-home company.
Learn the Common Signs of Work At Home Scams
There are many red flags associated with work at home scams. Learning what these are can help you be more vigilant as you search for telecommuting jobs. Pay attention to the following indicators of a work from home scam:
A Gimmicky Job Ad
First and foremost, carefully read the job ad a few times. Look for things that might indicate the offer is not real, like gimmicky language or scant information. Legitimate work from home job ads are more likely to have detailed lists of job expectations and background requirements. You should also be wary of job ads that don’t clearly list pay and benefits up front.
Bad Employee or Customer Reviews
Before applying, be sure to do your due diligence and research the background of the company. Not only should you become familiar with the company’s website, but you should also look up reviews from other employees on platforms like Glassdoor and customer reviews on Google Business and the Better Business Bureau.
If the company doesn’t have a telephone number on their website or other point of human contact, this is an indicator that you should probably move on from the potential opportunity. Odds are, it’s likely a scam and not a legitimate work opportunity.
You should also avoid companies that have negative reviews from other employees. You might see reviews where employees weren’t paid or had their paychecks bounce when they were deposited.
You Are Asked to Pay Money Up Front (Or At All)
One of the biggest and brightest red flags of any work from home job is upfront payment. No legitimate job will charge you a membership fee or training materials. In fact, you should never have to pay out any money for a legitimate job, even if it’s work from home. The job should only pay you. Don’t believe any promises that you will make your money back or that it’s a small investment compared to what you’ll get in return working from home.
It’s Difficult to Find Answers to Your Questions
Be sure to ask lots of questions about pay rate, method, and frequency. Ask about the job expectations and what role(s) you’ll be expected to fill. Ask them to describe what a typical day working for the company is like and how often you are allowed to take breaks.
If the company can’t provide you with this information or the people you talk to don’t seem to know the answers to these questions or seem hostile when answering them, take it as a sign that the job is high-risk. A legitimate company that offers telecommuting won’t mind answering your questions and making sure you’re clear on the job offer before applying or interviewing for the position.
You Never Applied to the Job
If you receive an email or letter about a work from home job you didn’t apply to, this is definitely a sign that a scam may be afoot. Scam artists send cleverly disguised solicitation to people who are likely to be looking for telecommuting work, hoping they will “interview” for the job and send in their important personal data. Job applications usually include your full name, date of birth, and Social Security number, so this is dangerous information to give away. This information can then be used to commit fraud or identity theft.
Never accept interviews or job offers for jobs you did not explicitly apply to yourself. Be wary of interview and “hiring” processes that are fully automated and never allow you to speak with a real person .
How Veteran Consumer Protection Attorneys Mazow McCullough, PC Can Help You
Mazow | McCullough, PC is an experienced Massachusetts and New Hampshire law firm that practices consumer protection law. We understand how frustrating it is to be taken advantage of by a work from home scam and we’re committed to helping our clients recover the maximum compensation available for damages done by a successful scam.
Contact us today to learn more about consumer rights, ask questions, or to book your legal consultation with one of our attorneys. Dial our Salem, MA office at (978) 744-8000 or toll-free at (855) 693-9084.