Working From Home: How to avoid getting scammed

Working From Home:  How to avoid getting scammedAs unsettling as the economy is today, it’s something that requires us all to take a long hard look at where things are, and where they are going. It wasn’t that long ago when families survived on one income, usually the father’s, and the mother stayed at home to raise the family. In the past several decades, we’ve begun to live beyond our means, and the cost of living has increased. We moved into a state where family’s required two incomes in order to make ends meet.

With the recent downturn in the economy, we are often faced with the daunting task of trying to balance work with family and the need for additional income. It’s not easy for workers to find good paying jobs that are stable enough to weather this type of economy, and people are beginning to look for alternatives to working a traditional job.

In recent years, working from home has changed from a dream to a reality. More and more companies are offering workers the opportunity to telecommute; and many companies are realizing the cost effectiveness to having employees work from their home.

There are those people who think that all work from home opportunities are scams, and there are some things that you should watch out for, but there is a myriad of choices that are legitimate and may fit your needs.

    Scam 101

There are a few rules of thumb that you should keep in mind as you scour the internet and newspapers for legitimate work from home jobs.

1. Fees – when it’s not okay to pay.
Most companies will not charge you a fee to apply to their company, and you should never even consider paying to the chance at obtaining a job. There are some exceptions and those are companies that require you to incorporate yourself in order to work as an independent contractor. If they’re asking you to pay to join a website or list that will give you access to work at home jobs, you should be running the other way.

2. Cheque Cashing or Wire Transfers
This is one of the older schemes that still circulates and can catch you off guard since the people who administer these types of “jobs” are always revamping their methods. A general rule is that you should never accept any job that asks you to accept any payments or cheques. Typically you will be asked to receive cheques, deposit them into the bank and forward a portion of the funds to the person you “work for”. This cheque is not legal nor is the person who offered you the job.

3. Data Entry and Envelope Stuffing
Before you go off deleting any data entry jobs that you might see, you need to be aware that this is often a legitimate job opportunity. Most of the Data Entry jobs that are cropping up on job boards are requesting that you post ads online, but you generally don’t get paid unless someone signs up for whatever service the company is selling. It doesn’t mean you won’t get paid, it just means you may not get paid for all the work your doing. Envelope stuffing on the other hand is something I would completely stay away from because they generally want you to send them a fee (see rule #1) and in return they will send you a bunch of ways that you too can promote your “business” and place ads where people will send you a fee to receive that information too.

4. Check out the Business
This may seem like a simple and obvious point to make, but it’s often overlooked. Sometimes, when we are considering job opportunities it’s easy to get caught up in everything. There are plenty of ways to check a business such as doing a Google search or checking with the Better Business Bureau. There are also many work-at-home forum boards that are a wealth of information as well.

    Becoming a Success Story

1. Don’t Act Like you Work From Home
-> Set your business hours and stick to them.
-> Don’t slack off just because someone isn’t able to catch you slacking off.

2. Stay Positive
-> Working from home is often harder than working in a traditional setting. Be sure you are mentally ready for the challenge by talking to your family and friends.
-> Create a personal mantra that you can use when times get tough. Some people put a picture of their family on their desk to remind them of why they are doing this. Some people close their eyes and repeat their mantra to themselves to re-focus themselves.

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