Work From Home Jobs That Are Too Good To Be True

A work from home job that sounds too good to be true is often just what it seems…

a potential scam to steal money from you, or a role that will lead to you deceiving others. 

You’ve no doubt already seen taglines on flyers, newspaper ads, or emails screaming: ‘No experience necessary!’, ‘Make money now!’, ‘The easiest job you’ll ever have!’... While the idea of earning money while working from home might sound too good to pass up, don’t believe all the hype. Wait until you’ve done your research. 

As more people look to move on from working in office cubicles to the comfort of their own home, scammers have turned this into a unique business opportunity to prey on unsuspecting job seekers.  

As senior career advisor of FlexJobs Brie Reynolds warns:

“For every single legitimate work-from-home job opportunity, there are over 70 scams that go with it.“

While you may have zero control over who chooses to engage in these types of schemes, what you can do is prevent it from affecting you and others. 

Before we dive in on the common work from home scams available in the market, you should first know how to distinguish scams from legitimate job listings by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Does the company ask for your social security number, driver’s license, credit card number, or other personal information?
  • Are you having second thoughts about the position?
  • Do their job listing and emails contain multiple spelling and grammatical errors? 
  • Will you pay any money upfront for the position?
  • Does the name, email, or website of the recruiter match the company’s information?

Truth be told, over 17% of job seekers say they’ve been scammed at least once. What’s more, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), one in every ten US adults falls victim to a scam or fraud every year.

While the percentages may not seem too alarming, you never know when you’ll let your guard down and get sucked into these scams yourself; even CEOs and celebrities have been deceived by con artists. 

Always remember: do your research, take every step with caution, and never disclose any of your personal information. 

Read on to find out the most common work from home scams that you should steer clear of:

Envelope stuffing

Photo taken from Canva

Known by many as one of the oldest work-from-home scams in the book, envelope stuffing is a scam where you pay a company up front for a ‘processing fee’.

In exchange, you will receive an envelope stuffing kit. This kit will supposedly earn you thousands of dollars depending on the number of envelopes you can mail out for them in a given duration. 

The job description doesn’t sound too bad right? 

Who wouldn’t want to spend, say $40 in exchange for a mailing envelope kit that can pay you $5 for every envelope you submit. 

So, where do the red flags come in? For starters, when you’re hired to do a job that computers can do, it doesn’t make sense for a legitimate company to instead hire multiple people to do it at great cost.

Another red flag you may have not noticed was the requirement to pay money upfront. Some envelope stuffing schemes won’t even get back to you once you’ve paid the initial “processing fee”. 

Those who do get a response are often only met with the exact letter they initially received which is to be sent to someone else - i.e. a pyramid scheme where the only way you can make your money back is by becoming a part of the scam yourself.  

Home assembly kits

Photo taken from Canva

Another common work from home scam that many people fall for is the home assembly kits scam. This is another ‘work from home job’ where you pay money upfront to a company. This only difference, you'llan assembly kit filled with supplies and materials.

The 'magic' of these kits is that it will supposedly help you create products in only a matter of minutes. 

What you will then do is send back the finished products to the company for inspection. Once approved, that’s when you’ll receive X amount of money from the company for all your hard work. 

So, we must ask again. What are the red flags?

While you may have already detected the first red flag (paying money upfront), there are other reasons why you should stay away from this kind of job.

To start with, there have been numerous complaints about how taxing trying to make these products can be. While you might argue that there will always be a steep learning curve for tasks you’ve never done before, the time wasted and the small returns for the products won’t be worth it (assuming you ever get paid). 

And, as expected, once you send the finished product back to the company, it will never pass their ‘quality requirements’, only leaving you frustrated and robbed of the money you initially paid out. 

What can you do? 

If assembling or handcrafting products is something that has piqued your interest and you just want to make an income from your hobby, here’s what you can do instead:

  • Start a crafting blog
  • Sell your finished products online
  • Market your products on social media and at festivals

Mystery shopper

Photo taken from Canva

This is another scam that involves you paying a registration fee upfront. This time, they’ll fool you into becoming part of their mystery shopper list.  

In this ‘job’, all you’ll need to do is register and buy different products from a certain store. You then share your experience for what they claim will be used for ‘quality control’ purposes. 

Once you pay the registration fee, the company then sends what appears to be a certified check where you then deposit it to your bank account. 

The check will usually be more than what you’ll need, fooling you to believe you’ve made ‘income’. The company may even say in the beginning that you can get to keep the excess cash, but will, later on, change their minds and request you to send the unused money back. 

Knowing that you’ve already made so much income for so little work, your first instinct would be to send the money back. You'll want to maintain a good relationship with the company right? After all, it was always their money, to begin with anyway.

What you then fail to realize is that the money issued in your account was only provisional credit. But, by the time you notice, your money is long gone from your bank account and now in the scammers’ pockets. 

You may ask yourself, how could anyone ever fall victim to this sort of scam? What kind of job would pay so much for little to no effort?

The reason is simple: there are real mystery shopper jobs out there. 

The only difference is, the legitimate ones will NEVER ask you to pay a registration fee and send checks to your bank account.  

Conclusion

Remote work opportunities have become sought-after by increasing numbers of people. It gives them a chance to avoid daily commutes and return to office cubicles. While you may be eager to earn sustainable income the easiest way possible, be careful not to fall for scams. 

Before you finalize your application, make sure to always do the following:

  • Do thorough background checks on the company you wish to apply to
  • Avoid giving out personal information (bank account, address, ID, Social Security number etc)
  • Never, ever make any upfront payments

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