Weed Out Work-at-Home Scams

by Rosalind Mays Welch


"When looking at telecommuting job ads, how can you tell the scams from the real thing?"

Someone left this message on my discussion board and I thought it was an excellent and thoughtful question. My answer is simple, there are seven rules that can weed out the scams from the legitimate jobs. Follow these rules and the scammers will poke out like purple roses among a field of daisies.

First look at these examples of telecommuting advertisements:

WORK FROM HOME. Escape the rat race. Data Entry. Earn $2,000 & up a month part-time. Will train. Call 800-314-XXXX.

RECRUITING ASST. Responsibilities include data entry, word processing and client/physician telephone relations. 2 years exp. in clerical field, sales experience preferred. Work at home okay, 20 hours a week. Fax or mail resume to: Physicians Helping, P.O. Box XXXX, L.A. CA 90026 909-382-XXXX

Now, tell me which one of these advertisements is a scam and which one is legitimate? Don't exactly know? Well then, let's study The 7 Rules of Legitimate Telecommuting Opportunities.

Rule 1: REAL employers ask for a resume and provide an address, an e-mail address or/and a fax number to send that resume. Real employers never list their phone number.

Look at the Sunday Classifieds, in the job opportunities section you will find that most employers do not list their phone number in the advertisement. Why? Because the employer would be inundated with calls by the curious. Most employers do not have the time nor the resources to field all the inquiries a vacancy would produce. However, salespeople have all the time in the world to answer calls. So, if a phone number is listed and the ad doesn't ask for a resume, be very cautious.

Rule 2: REAL employers expect skills, knowledge and experience from applicants and usually want proof of this via resume, samples of work or interviews. If you are not asked for one of these things, proceed with caution!

Rule 3: REAL employers never say "NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY", instead they use the term "entry-level" and most employers do not offer telecommuting options for entry-level positions. Why? Think about it, it's difficult enough to train the inexperienced "in" the work place. It's nearly impossible to train someone from a distance and provide sufficient supervision.

Rule 4: REAL employers state exactly what the job duties will be and the skills required to fill the job. The more requirements listed, the most likely the job is legitimate. Most scammers have absolutely no information on job duties and requirements.

Rule 5: REAL employers usually don't list the job's salary. Now think of the last time you saw a salary printed in a classified ad? The last one I saw was a government job. Most employers ask for a salary history or "salary requirement" from YOU the applicant. Also notice the amount of salary mentioned in first advertisement. If you can make $2,000 a month part-time (20 hours a week) you would earn $25 an hour. When have you ever come across an entry-level position that pays $25 an hour? Do the math!

Rule 6: REAL employers don't ask for money. They ask for your resume. Don't EVER pay for a list of companies hiring telecommuters, because employers are NOT looking for telecommuters, they are looking for skilled and experience employees. Never purchase a "kit" of information, you are looking for a job. . . not a lesson. Never pay for required materials that you can't purchase from a third party. If you can only purchase the materials for the employer then they're scamming you. Think about it, most employers use materials and tools that are general to the industry.

Rule 7: REAL employers never start their ad with phrases like WORK AT HOME. They are not interested in finding a person "at-home"; they're interested in finding an employee that will get the job done. Legitimate jobs use headers that describe the open position like SECRETARY, TECHNICAL WRITER, etc. Usually the option of telecommuting or working at home is listed last, almost like an afterthought.

Now, you know The 7 Rules of Legitimate Telecommuting Opportunities. Go back to the two classified ads at the beginning of this article. Which one is a scam? Which one does not fulfill the rules? Keep these seven points religiously, and you will most likely field all the scams that come your way.

Happy job-hunting!

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