Freelancers Beware! How To Recognize And Avoid Work From Home ScamsOct 11, 2022
It’s easy to get excited about having a career that allows you to work from home as a freelancer. The suggestions are everywhere.
All that talk in the breakroom about a friend and former co-worker who left “cube-land” and started a virtual business as a freelance proofreader had everyone - including you - wondering “why not me?” Plus, those TV ads showing thousands and thousands of sad, morning commuters, stuck in traffic, waiting to get to an unfulfilling job in the city, and then, out of nowhere, a nice man scoots on to the freeway on his office chair. He stops at the car window of one of these poor workers (who could be just like you) and says, “You can choose when and where you want to work as a freelancer.” Like the lady in the ad, you may want to make a U-turn out of the traffic and head back home screaming “I am the boss of me!”
Yes, the signs about the benefits of working from home are everywhere. You’ve seen them and, unfortunately, crooks and shysters have seen them too. This has caused a whole new area for con men to exploit. Working from home is an incredible opportunity - one that can change your life - and there are thousands of legitimate work from home opportunities out there. Please be aware there are also scams lurking online, and they are evil.
Ready to take the leap and begin your freelance business? Start by taking our Business Persona Quiz to find out what type of work you’re naturally suited for.
Beware of Tell-Tale Signs
According to Kathy Goughenour, who has helped thousands of former wage-earners start, manage, and enjoy life-changing success in a virtual business, the popularity of working from home as a freelancer is top of mind for everyone who wants a better life for themselves and their families. Her company, Virtual Expert® Training has become the “gold standard” for those who want the flexibility and income potential of working from home.
In her work counseling freelancers, virtual assistants, and Virtual Experts®, she has also seen WAY TOO MANY work-from-home scams.
“There are many ‘red flags’ to watch out for,” she said.
- “If the company is offering a lot of money for very little work. This doesn’t exist!
- “If they ask for any personal info, this is a bright red, glow-in-the dark warning sign. You should NEVER give out your social security number. They should ask you for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) ( number instead. It’s more secure and helps to confirm that it might be a legitimate job opportunity.
- “They may offer to send you a check BEFORE any work has been done. This sounds great, after all who doesn’t like getting paid, in advance. The scam starts when the company asks for personal information (Social Security number, bank info, address, etc.) in order to send it to you.
- “Some may ask YOU to pay a fee before you can start working. There’s no reason that anyone who is paying you directly would require a fee before you work for them. Of course, there are coaching programs, directories, and training programs that will legitimately request a fee for this service. However, this is totally different than someone who wants to hire you and asks for a fee.
- “Perhaps you can’t find anything about them online, or what you find looks suspicious. This is a problem.
- “Some scammers are so arrogant that they say they are not interested in interviewing you at all. For any potential work-from-home engagement, YOU want to have a “discovery call” before working with them. You should decide if YOU want to work with THEM!”
How to Deal with a Potential Scam
Finding freelance jobs from home is a terrain littered with many landmines, but there are tactics to build a “safety map” to ensure offers are legitimate. Kathy suggests:
- “Post the information about the job opportunity on our Virtual Expert Career Facebook group, and we’ll give you our thoughts on it. Sometimes we’ve seen it already and have already checked it out.
- “Research the company online! Google and other search engines are packed with information on just about every company and more than a few scams. It’s also a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau and ask questions of the company if they seem fishy.
- “If your research proves that a work-from-home “opportunity” is really just another work-from-home “scam,” there is actually very little that a potential freelancer can do. We suggest reporting them to whatever platform they've appeared on. However, don't waste a lot of time on it because these people know how to hide from authorities and are almost never found or stopped. They just move on to the next scam. However, here's an article that shares how to report these scofflaws
Take Control of Your Life
The opportunities of working from home as a freelancer, virtual assistant or Virtual Expert® have never been better. Digital tools such as online conferencing platforms, and the realization that working from home is much more productive than a traditional office setting, both developed during the COVID pandemic, have supercharged the race for finding the best work-from-home jobs.
Because criminals understand this too, it is critical for everyone considering this amazing career opportunity to follow the ancient Latin advice: Caveat emptor. “Let the buyer beware.”
If you’re considering a career change and feel you deserve the flexibility and potential income of working from home as a freelancer, click on this FREE webinar and find out if this opportunity is right for you.
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