Avoid Work at Home Scams

If you Google “work at home”, Google will return more than 6 billion results.  You obviously don’t want to wade through all these results.  That would be a job in and of itself.  The results will be a mix of advice articles, cautionary tales, job listings and scams.  In general, the scams far outweigh the genuine job opportunities.  Some will be so patently fake, they’re easy to avoid.  Some are much more subtle and harder to identify as a scam.

Here’s a list that should set off warning bells right off:

  • Envelope stuffing
  • Assembly or craft work
  • Rebate processing
  • Online searches
  • Lists of work at home jobs or lists of companies that hire telecommuters that you have to pay for

These are some of the more obvious examples to avoid.  One field to avoid or approach with caution might surprise you: medical billing or medical coding.  This sounds like a great opportunity.  This is obviously a real career and the compensation is often quite good.  This is also a very competitive field.  Employers that hire teleworkers often require graduation from an accredited program, licensure and several years experience in an on-site position.  If you have these qualifications, it may be a difficult field to break into, but definitely one to consider.  Be sure to research the employer carefully and don’t accept any positions that require you to spend lots of money on specialized equipment or software.  For those who don’t have the education or experience for these position, be wary of advertisements that promise that you can get your certification and a job within months.  Understand that if you want to pursue this course, it will likely take you years to gain the education and experience to even qualify for a work at home position.

Online education opportunities are expanding exponentially right now.  Even so, there is still a stigma attached to online education, so if  you’re considering going back to school and you’re looking at online programs, make sure the school is properly accredited.  Also look online for testimonials from former students.  You’ll often pay nearly as much for an online program as you would an on campus program, so you want to make sure you’re getting a degree or certification that has true value.

When it comes to any prospective work at home position or online training program, research is key.  Check with the Federal Trade Commission, your state’s attorney general’s office, the Better Business Bureau, or even just Google the company.  If it’s a scam, you’ll often find cautionary tales posted online.  Always investigate education programs by ensuring they’re properly accredited and search for testimonials by former students.  If they had difficulty finding a job after they complete the program, there’s a good chance you will too.

In my next post, we’ll look at whether traditional employment or starting your own enterprise will suit your needs better.  thanks for joining me!

H. Lounsbury