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When Should You Pay for a Work at Home Job?

Aug 17, 2007
Let's face it... finding a work at home job is far from easy. There are so many opportunities out there that just look so appealing. All you have to do is send in a payment for $xx and you have a job. What's the harm?

Time to get real. You don't pay to get a job. You don't pay to get an outside the home job, so why pay to work at home? It just doesn't add up.

There is one exception, however. Some companies now charge you for the background check they do before hiring you. This happens at outside the home jobs too, so it's legitimate, if barely, and to my mind a poor hiring practice. However, as some companies that do hire and, more importantly, pay their at home employees regularly do this, it is not strictly a warning sign. I would call for caution with any background check, however, and investigate thoroughly first, as there is also a scam out there where they have you fill out a form for a background check, then steal your identity.

Charging to apply is far from the only work at home scam out there. Some can get the police or FBI pounding on your door, and people have done jail time.

One form of this scam has you working placing eBay ads for someone in another country. You place the ad and collect the payment, forwarding it to the other country, where the item should be shipped from. It never is.

A variant is where they persuade you to give them your bank account information, then they steal directly from you.

Let's make this perfectly clear. There are no jobs out there forwarding money to your employer. There are no jobs where your employer needs to know anything about your credit cards, banking information or any other personal financial information.

Many work at home job seekers are desperate to work at home, and as such are perfect targets for scammers. No matter how badly you need to start earning an income, you don't need to lose money to a scam.

There are a few basic warning signs. Some scams are well-crafted and won't have these signs, while a few legitimate opportunities may show one or two symptoms of being a scam, so still use your head.

* Free email account or website hosting - Most real companies will have websites that they are paying for, and email addresses assigned to employees. It doesn't cost that much for them to do so.
* Lots of misspellings or other errors in email or website - Sloppy work is not promising for a real opportunity.
* You have to pay to work - As I said above, don't.
* Envelope stuffing opportunities - Machines can stuff envelopes for very little cost. No one is going to pay you to do it, no matter how often you see their sign on the side of the road.
* Home assembly - If you're good at crafts, you're better off making your own and selling them on eBay, to local stores or at flea markets.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster is the owner of Home with the Kids, a resource that knows that there's more to staying home with your family than just business. Get more tips on how to avoid work at home scams and subscribe to the free newsletter.
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