In this brief article, I want to highlight some of the biggest jobs scams to avoid. Remember, not everything that glitters is gold…
First and foremost, Happy New Year! I hope that the year 2022 brings beautiful moments for you and your family. With a new year comes new goals and resolutions. Perhaps on the list of resolutions is to start fresh and land a remote online job. Great! I wish you much success. There are so many online job opportunities available-many quite literally being at your fingertips. Trust me, I’ve been working remotely online full-time for over two years now and will never look back.
Unfortunately, not everything that glitters is gold. The ocean of job opportunities has a dark side. Out of all the promising online job opportunities available, there are also a lot of scams. What is more frustrating about this reality is that several bad apples are taking advantage of those who are financial victims of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this article, I want to get very real with you, and highlight some of the top online job scams you should avoid. Let’s begin.
Data Entry Clerks
Data entry clerk ‘opportunities’ are some of the major online job scams you should avoid. Do not get me wrong, data entry is real, honest work. Unfortunately, depending on where you are looking, some of the online data entry positions you may encounter may not be legitimate. Keep an eye out for ‘data entry’ posting on websites, like Craigslist, Facebook, and even job-search databases, like Indeed.
In my experience, some of these alleged job posters may ask you for very personal information, like your driver’s license, credit card number, or social security number-often without a formal application or interview process. Others may provide you with a list of data to ‘organize’, and never pay you. Some of these other ‘companies’ may either never respond back to you or actually offer you work. Worse? Some ‘employers’ may actually wind up stealing your personal information (Or give you nefarious tasks to complete).
If you see any job positions that sound incredibly vague and provide little-no information about the company or job itself, consider that a red flag. Are they promising a high salary and/or quick pay? Another red flag. I especially implore you to raise your eyebrows to any job postings with the catchphrases ‘legit’, ‘not a scam’, ‘make real money’, or ‘real opportunity’ next to the name (Does McDonald’s post those phrases next to their positions?). If you do encounter a ‘remote’ or ‘online’ data entry position, thoroughly research the company. I’ll provide more information on what to do, to screen potential online opportunities at the end of this article.
The second online job scam to avoid is in the area of online surveys. You’ve probably seen the ads: ‘Make easy money by taking surveys online’; ‘Looking for online work? Get PAID to take surveys!’. You know what I’m talking about. Many of these sites claim to reward ‘quick’ and ‘easy’ money, either by taking a survey, or watching videos. What many of these companies actually do is take your data and sell it to marketing and research firms.
Sure, you could certainly earn money from taking some of these online surveys. However, the pay is insultingly low. On average, online survey companies pay anywhere from 25 us cents to $1usd for a 20-minute survey. If you’re lucky, you may wind up making up to $3usd per hour. Keep in mind that as of 2021, the Federal minimum wage in the United States is $7.21usd per hour. While none of these companies are offering you to take paid surveys as an employee, the pay offered across these sites is insultingly low.
The third category of online job scams to avoid are ‘copy/paste’ gigs. When I first explored working online, I kept encountering YouTube videos with money ‘gurus’ claiming you could make hundreds per hour, simply by copying and pasting data. I immediately sniffed bs. The fact that YouTube allows these types of videos on their platform blows me away, to this day. Many videos and online job ‘postings’ claim that you can make anywhere from $50-$300 per hour by either copying and pasting advertisements or other types of vague ‘data’ from website or Excel spreadsheets. As part of the job, you’ll often be visiting fishy looking Flash websites, or required to send a number of SPAM emails. Just remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
Having to Pay for the Job
The fourth category of online job scams to avoid is ANY type of job requiring upfront money. Legitimate jobs are not going to require you to pay for your job. It’s just the truth. Now sure, when it comes to working online, you mut invest in your own general equipment, like a computer or headset (but those can become business tax write-offs). However, please be wary of any ‘companies’ or ‘employers’ that require you to pay for a ‘starter kit’ or monthly ‘fee’ as part of the gig. Companies should NEVER require you to pay for YOUR company uniform or their equipment (or software) that you would need for the job. Ask yourself this question: Does McDonalds charge their employees to wear the company uniform? The answer is ‘No’. Just remember, if they’re asking you to pay for ANYTHING, run away. That’s a big, fat red flag.
The fifth category of online job scams to avoid is anything within the Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) sector. MLMs may alternatively advertise their opportunities as ‘Network marketing’ or ‘Direct customer sales’. It’s all the same. The majority of these opportunities are also referred to as ‘pyramid schemes’. Just as you previously read, the MLM business format requires that their sales representatives/distributors purchase a ‘starter packet’ for the product they’re selling. Most of these companies require you to purchase a certain amount of inventory, to continue to sell for the MLM.
The real opportunities to make money come from promoting others to join your ‘down line’, where you can make a cut form your recruit’s sale. Worst of all? The majority of people wo join MLMs either lose money, or never make anything. According to research data from the Federal Trade Commission, 0.4% of all MLM participants profited, after MLM-required expenses. The takeaway? Beware of any ‘opportunities’ where MLM reps ask you to ‘join our team’, ‘be your own boss’, or ‘become a boss babe’. Especially fly a red flag, if these opportunities come from random Facebook messages from former high school classmates.
Automatic Job Offers
The final category of online job scams to avoid are automatic job offers. If you ever encounter a job posting or hear from a random individual offering you a job opportunity WITHOUT a job interview or vetting process, wave your red flag. Legitimate job opportunities will require some sort of vetting process, even if it’s just an interview. if you DO decide to move forward with the ‘job opportunity’, you are most likely saying ‘yes’ to a scam. Most of these crooks just want your money, your personal information, or both. Even McDonald’s requires employee candidates to fill out an application and go through the interview process. Just remember this old phrase, ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’.
What you can do if you think you found Job Scam?
In order to steer-clear of any online jobs scams, you should always do your research, and do it well. How? Look into websites, like Glassdoor, GuideStar, and the Better Business Bureau. Glassdoor is a great website to look at for anonymous employee reviews. Many employees will provide honest explanations about the working conditions, company culture, and pay. Unfortunately, a lot of front companies may mask themselves as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. GuideStar is an excellent resource to investigate when you want to learn more about the track records of nonprofit organizations and charities. The Better Business Bureau is one of the leading resources you can also visit, to search for company information, and search for (and report) company complaints. Don’t forget that you can also search for companies, and file formal reports with the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
These are all the online job scams you should avoid. In conclusion, listen to, and follow your gut. if something sounds too good to be true, then it most likely is. Stay safe online, folks!
If you like this article, you may like my article about PAID UX Testing websites!