7 Easy Ways to Spot an Online Job Scam

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With unemployment hovering around 10%, more and more consumers are looking to the internet to find work and additional ways to boost their incomes. While there are certainly many advantages that come with having an online job, there are also a number of drawbacks, starting with the fact that there are thousands of online scams out there!

Millions of people are drawn towards online job opportunities because of the convenience and the ease of earning money right from their homes. Unfortunately, a lot of scammers are taking advantage of this trend; they lure hopeful job-seekers with bogus promises of huge and quick earnings -and when it's time to deliver the paycheck, they mysteriously disappear.
The scam truck

Image by jepoirrier via Flickr

To avoid becoming a victim of any one of the truckload of online job scams flooding the internet, (especially during the holidays) you have to be extra careful.

Remember, if something sounds too good to be true -it usually is.  Although many online scams are cleverly disguised as legitimate operations, there are signs you can look for in order to pinpoint the bogus online jobs.

1. The online job is advertised in spam email. Any kind of spam is already suspicious in itself; those that advertise online job openings are even more suspect. If you didn't apply for any online job and the company still managed to get your email address, that's a red flag.

2. You're being guaranteed a quick and large income. The "get rich quick" approach is quite common among online scams, as well as the guarantee that you'll earn five- or six-figures in a just a few days or weeks. The moment you see the phrases, "get rich quick" and "guaranteed income", leave the site right away.

3. You are required to pay an initial fee. This is one of the most common signs of a scam. Common sense will tell you that as the employee (or independent contractor), you're supposed to be receiving money, not giving it.

4. No skill or experience needed. While you can certainly get accepted to many genuine online jobs without having certain licenses or even a college degree, you do need to have some kind of skill in order to get hired. If an online job doesn't require anything at all, it's probably a scam.

5. The job's legitimacy is over-emphasized. A truly legitimate company doesn't need to tout or rub in its authenticity; its legitimacy can be easily seen in the company profile section. The more frequently and insistently a company says its job offers are legal, the more likely it is that the jobs are scams.

6. The website does not provide contact information. Online scams typically have a website but most of them don't post telephone numbers or office addresses on the site. In case there is contact information posted on the site, it's wise to check its validity first before signing up for anything.

7.  The job requires money wire transactions or handling products.  Don't ever cash checks sent by companies asking you to wire a portion of the money to another entity, or back to them. That is a scam often referred to as advance fee fraud. You should never wire funds to anyone unless it is going to someone you know.

Still not sure if an online company is legitimate?

It pays to do a little bit of research. Type the company name into a search engine and see what comes up. You can also try searching the same way -adding the word "complaints". You may also want to try contacting the company if it has a listed contact number or email address. Ask for more specific information about the job, as well as some references. If the company replies with a concise and detailed answer, there's a chance it may be legitimate but if the company seems to be wary in its reply, look elsewhere. Remember the cardinal rule of thumb: If something sounds too good to be true -it probably is!

Stay up-to-date on the latest scams and the methods used to avoid becoming a scam victim.   Reduce your risk of falling victim to fraudRead a few earlier blogs.

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