3 Ways to Avoid Work at Home Scams

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woman-on-laptopIn this troubled economy, more and more of us are looking for work at home opportunities. But how can you differentiate between the real and the scam in a world still pretty rife with online financial predators?

1. Do your homework.

This advice may sound simple, but it’s amazing how many otherwise smart people fall prey to scams purely out of financial desperation. Check out any new companies with the Better Business Bureau. Plug the company name into your favorite search engine and see what pops up. Also, type in the company name plus words like “scam” or “complaints” and see what people are saying about them. Word spreads fast about likely online work at home scams, but some people get so emotionally caught up in the potential financial benefits that they don’t even take simple protective measures in advance.

2. Don’t just hand over your personal information.

Now, most job applications these days demand a vast array of personal information including your full name, current address, date of birth and Social Security Number. But if you’re dealing with a primarily online business, you must protect yourself even more so than usual. Do not hand over your Social Security Number until you’re confident that the company is on the up-and-up. Also, if you have options such as receiving a paper check or a PayPal payment, exercise those at first; once you trust that the company is legit and pays you on time, you can then consider handing over your banking information for direct deposit. After all, some scammers collect banking details to commit identity fraud and print false cashier’s checks using those account numbers.

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3. Avoid payment processing jobs.

Payment processing jobs are common online work at home scams and sound very seductive at first. How it basically works is you “cash” cashier’s checks and money orders and are trusted to send most of it back to the company. These jobs rarely require security checks. Think about it: what company in their right minds will trust someone they don’t know to cash large cashier’s checks and money orders and just send most of the funds back? What all too often happens is that your bank will initially place the funds in your account, but then when they discover the financial instrument is counterfeit, they charge it against your account. By now, you’ve already sent most of that money off to parts unknown and have no recourse against your losses. Some people have been arrested and sued for getting involved in these types of “jobs.”

While there are plenty of legitimate work at home jobs out there, there are some that will put you in a worse financial position than you started with and potentially put your identity at risk. Always remember: when something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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For more tips and tools to protect your money, including complete identity theft protection with a $1 million guarantee, visit Quizzle.com. And check out these other great, money-saving articles: