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How to Research a Work-At-Home Job

One of the most challenging parts to getting a work-at-home job is determining whether or not the job announcements you’re finding are legitimate. The free job boards and many websites are filled with offers of high paying jobs that turn out to be duds or scams. The first step to any successful work-at-home job search then is to weed out the good offers from the bad.

Keep Your Emotions in Check: One of the most important things you can do to avoid work-at-home scams is to not let your emotions get involved. Scammers are brilliant copywriters who are able to use their offers to get you excited about the prospect of paying off debt, being home with children or making tons of money in a short time. They do this because they know buying decisions are made emotionally. Therefore, keep your head in the game. Legitimate jobs don’t use hype or promise you the moon because they’re not selling anything.

Go through the scam check list: If the job asks for money to hire you or wants to sell you its own equipment or software, it’s not a job. Other scams to watch out for include envelop stuffing, assembly work, payment processing, any job asking you to use your bank account to help the company do business, email processing, rebate processing, repackaging, and any offer that uses the word “guarantee” in relation to income. Employers don’t offer guarantees; they offer a salary or a wage.

Read the job description: If you get to the end of the job announcement and you don’t know what the job entails, it’s likely not a job. Work-at-home job announcements are like traditional job announcements in which the employer gives the job title and description, a list of requirements, and instructions on how to apply.

Do your research: Visit the company’s website, which should not be hosted on a free site (i.e. It should also be professional looking with easy to find contact information. Use a search engine to find information about the company. Type in the company’s name along with the word ‘scam’ to see if anything pops up. Visit quality work-at-home or scam forums to see if anyone has shared experiences with the company. You can check the Better Business Bureau to see if there is any negative feedback and if so how the company responded. However, not all companies are in the Better Business Bureau and not being a member doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a scam.

Proceed with caution through the process: Sometimes scams don’t reveal themselves until you’ve started the application process. So take each step with care. Don’t give your social security or other information that can be used to steal your identity during the hiring process (employers will eventually need your social security number, but not until they actually hire you). If you’re asked for money for anything besides a criminal history check, walk away. You should never have to give payment information for a job. Work at home jobs are just like traditional jobs, so if during your job search process you’re asked to do or provide something a traditional employer wouldn’t ask for, stop the process and assess.

Work-at-home jobs are prevalent, but so are the scams and schemes used to trick you out of your money. Protect yourself and stay focused on finding legitimate jobs by taking time to research and evaluate job announcements.

Leslie Truex is the author of The Work-At-Home Success Bible (2009 Adams Media). She has been telecommuting and running home businesses for over 15 years and helping others to work at home in jobs or home businesses since 1998. Get work-at-home jobs and other resources with her free newsletter at Work-At-Home Success.