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Work at Home: Avoid Scams


how to avoid work at home scams

Close up shot of entering credit card number to make a purchase online

Use caution. Take care.

As a kid, my Dad taught me caution when working. “Careless gets you hurt.” In our basement workshop, these few words—his rules—were written:

1. Listen.

2. Look.

3. Think.

Whenever we started a project, Dad had me repeat them to reinforce safety and common sense.

And when the job was done, he had me count my fingers. Digits, as he called them. “Ten before. Ten after. The rules worked.”

Workshop to Workplace

Later, I carried his words from the workshop to the workplace. First, as an employee for technology companies. And today, as a leader in the work-at-home contact center industry.

In our business, we contract thousands of independent agents from across the United States. Once selected for a program, we pay agents to learn a client’s business—with their commitment to stay and do the work. It’s all very straightforward.

In our industry, however, we encounter far too many work-from-home scams, which deprive applicants of their money. Worse yet, such scams set them up to be victimized later for identity crimes

Dad’s Rules Rule

These flim-flams range from being seemingly legitimate to downright preposterous. This is where Dad’s rules—listen, look, think—apply when applying online.

Just consider this come-on, such as: “Start Making $18,000.01 Every Day,” which I recently read. (The $.01 is a nice, if not twisted, touch.) reports common scams include:

  • Bogus refund-recovery businesses, where scammers sell you software to track lost UPS and FedEx shipments. No way.
  • Classic envelope-stuffing scheme, claiming to pay you $1 per envelope, which makes no sense. Look before you lick.

At the FBI, the feds caution about work-at-home cons: “Job One: Do Not Take the Bait.”
They identify:

  • Advance-fee ruse: Scammers hoodwink you to send in a few hundred hundreds to start a home business, only to get stuck later with worthless inventory.
  • Criminal con: Crooks contract unwitting U.S.-based agents to reroute checks and goods to other victims, with no trace back to them.

If you think you’ve been taken, contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Even We Fall Victim

At times, fraudsters will even hijack our Working Solutions good name to mask their scams. We have to shut them down at the source of the advertisement, often never finding out who they really are. If you encounter one, please notify us immediately at

Caveats and criminals aside, there are legit, work-at-home jobs offered every day by real companies. Ours is one of them. Also, check out FlexJobs, LinkedIn and verified, remote-work sites.

As Cheryl Demas, author of It’s a Jungle Out There and a Zoo in Here: Run Your Home Business Without Letting It Overrun You, told  “Legitimate employers pay you, not the other way around.”

Or as Dad would say: “Digits or digital. The same rules for safety apply—listen, look, think. And remember, count ‘em—twice.”

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