No matter how wisely one follows a monthly budget or how many coupons one clips, a little extra cash is always welcome. With more and more individuals coming online and setting up their businesses, the opportunities for earning money have quadrupled in the ‘Age of the Internet’.
5 SIGNS OF WORK-FROM-HOME ONLINE SCAMS
However, there is also a real risk of getting scammed into working for illegitimate concerns if one is not vigilant. These are 5 tell-tale signs that differentiate a legitimate online job offer from a work-from-home scam:
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE: If a work-from -home pitch sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We have all seen those classified ads in the Sunday newspaper or on Craigslist that promise thousands of dollars a month for “working from home” and offer little other information about the task at hand. One must summon their common sense when considering such pitches, because there is a strong possibility that all that advertisement is offering a “Get Rich Quick” book set or set of CDs.
STAY EMOTION-FREE: Online scammers use pitches that play on the individual’s emotions. They use appeals that channel the fear and desperation that sets in when people are struggling to pay bills on a monthly basis or are facing financial disasters like defaulting on a loan. Scams often use phrases to indicate how the reader “deserves to live a worry-free life”. No matter how accurately the ‘work-from-home’ offer taps into one’s fears and desires, it is vital to stay rational and patient while evaluating any remote working position.
CONDUCT A THOROUGH BACKGROUND CHECK: No matter how legitimate an organization or its ‘work-from-home’ offer appears, do not send off your hard-earned money with conducting a thorough background check! To conduct a detailed background check, one must research where it is headquartered, double-check if the office is indeed at the written physical location and try to call the organization on the given phone numbers. Type in the company’s name with the words ‘review’ or ‘scam’ into the Google search bar and see if any posts or reviews show up. The Better Business Bureau’s online directory is also a reliable resource where the legitimacy of registered businesses can be cross-checked. A real business will never charge a job applicant for a remote working position. Those ads offering a “risk-free” online business opportunity are being dubious as entrepreneurship is by its very nature a risky venture.
RECOGNIZE THE TELL-TALE SIGNS OF A SCAM: While there are numerous employment and work-from-home opportunities that are legitimately marketed online, the scams often follow an easily identifiable pattern.
“Business-in-a-box” Start-up kits
“Work in your pajamas” pitch that is quickly followed with an appeal for the reader to send in money via a personal check or wire – These must be diligently avoided!
Pyramid Schemes that require the reader to rope other individuals into purchasing a dubious service or product. Sometimes they require the reader to ask friends to “invest” and promise them a “return” that is miraculously tripled or quadrupled. These scams must be avoided and if possible, reported to the appropriate authorities.
Mystery Shopping from your home office
Multi-level Marketing (MLM) or Direct Sales job offers with little information about the company or its products.
Any ‘work-from-home’ kit that asks the participant to stuff envelopes or assemble kits in their home- chances are this is nothing more than a colossal waste of time.
Pitches that ask the participant to become a wholesaler or re-seller of obscure products
Ads that require the participant to dabble in online stock trading systems. These are highly risky and often illegal ventures that rope in unsuspecting victims through classified ads. Avoid at all costs!
RESPOND TO LEGITIMATE OFFERS ONLY: There are a great number of ‘work-from-home’ or ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes that are strategically placed to show up in search engine results as sponsored links. These must be avoided, no matter how tempting their pitches are. Similarly, scammers have crafted newsletters that end up in inboxes with attractive pitches that lure the unsuspecting recipient into sending money to them to make money. A good rule-of-thumb is to check out the company’s original website before investing your time or money in an online venture.
TAKE THE LAW INTO YOUR OWN HANDS
A little-known yet legitimate way to earn some cash is to become an online mock juror. Attorneys use panels of virtual mock jurors to test their stances on difficult or controversial cases before they go to trial. There are some restrictions as to who can participate as a mock juror; the participant must live within the same country where the case will be tried. Those living in urban centers are more likely to find work as a virtual mock juror than those living in smaller cities or in the rural areas. Websites such as Ejury compensate online participants with $5 to $10 per case via an online payment portal like PayPal.
PROVIDE OTHERS WITH VIRTUAL ASSISTANCE
Those individuals who have worked in secretarial roles in the past will be pleased to know that being a virtual assistant is an extremely lucrative and rewarding profession. There are number of websites that offer to link virtual assistants with clients. The clients often require help in managing their own online or brick-and-mortar businesses, such as management of the official company’s inbox or setting up appointments with clients or vendors. Other tasks that virtual assistants help with include targeted research, invoice management and coordinating travel for their clients. There is considerable flexibility in this work as the virtual assistant can indicate their preferred hours of work and almost all the tasks can be conducted from home, provided you have a reliable internet connection.
PUT YOUR EDUCATION TO WORK – PROVIDE VIRTUAL TUITION SERVICES
Time to dust off those high school and college textbooks! Students struggling to grasp complex algebraic formulas or Shakespeare’s linguistic somersaults log onto websites like Tutor dot com to find a virtual tutor. If you have a flair for the biological sciences or behavioral psychology, you can put it to use and earn real cash by signing up as a virtual tutor. The minimum time commitment for virtual tutors is 5 hours and each tutor must possess at least a bachelor’s degree to teach others. All the sessions are conducted online via videoconferencing technology and the virtual tutors are compensated for every hour taught. Craigslist often has advertisements with students seeking tutors for an upcoming exam or major project.
TURN YOUR PARENTING EXPERIENCES INTO CASH
Being a parent blogger is not only an extremely therapeutic exercise, it has the potential to help you earn cash (and possibly a complimentary box of diapers, too!). Moms and dads with a dormant writing ability need to take note! There a number of blogs looking for daddy and mommy bloggers who can share their experiences of raising kids these days with humor and intelligence. The topics that fall into the parenting blogging category are as vast as the challenges:
Should My Child Eat Vegan Foods Before the Age of 3?
Who Gets to Decide if My 4 Year Old is Too Old to Breastfeed in Public?
Top 3 Ways for Dads to Make Pain-Free Ponytails, and so on.
Most parenting blogger choose to set up their own websites, with a custom-picked domain, via blogging platforms like WordPress or Blogspot. Affiliate marketing is a more indirect way to earn money. This will require strategy, patience and lots of experience with Google Adsense on the part of the parenting blogger. Google Adsense is a free service that places advertisements on people’s blogs and websites. One of the more famous examples of affiliate marketing, the participant is paid for every ad that a visitor to their blog sees while the amount depends on the number of online visitors who have seen that particular ad.
CIRCLE IN RED DIGITAL INK – BECOME A FREELANCE EDITOR
Experienced editors who prefer to work from home can put those specialized skills to use. There are numerous blogs and websites that require not only content development but the services of a skilled freelance editor to proofread and check the writing. Often the reputation of a business or an organization depends on the quality of writing on their social media accounts or websites. The pay can be by project, by word or by hour – all depends on the niche and the editor’s previous professional experience and certifications.
MINT YOUR CLICKS
Have you always been the resident photographer in your circle of family and friends? It is time to turn your photographic skills into cold, hard cash by creating an online portfolio. Online stock photo directories, like iStockphoto and Getty Stock photos, compensate members for every photograph that is downloaded for commercial or personal use by other website subscribers. The rate for a digital download of an original photograph can vary from a few cents to more than $100; it all depends on the photographer’s skill and the category in which the pictures fall into.