Work at Home Scam

Ways to Spot a Work at Home Scam

Work at Home Scam

Work at Home Scam

I am constantly seeing work at home scams on the internet, in newspapers, and posted on telephone poles. I am just as sick of it as the next person. The unfortunate thing is that people still fall for these every single day! I have already pointed out (on this site) some various scams that I see often in order to warn you about them. Not all scams involve working from home, but all scams need to be avoided, nonetheless. Please read this article carefully and then read it again. It can save you quite a bit of time in the long run.

First, be wary of any job offer that asks for personal information that they shouldn’t really need, such as your marital status, how many children you have, credit card information, passwords etc. You will only need to give your banking information if you have been hired and you are 200% sure that it is no legitimate site. They do not need your banking information to decide whether or not they will hire you. Many work at home jobs will pay through PayPal, which is fine. For this, you will need to provide your PayPal e-mail address. However, do not give them your PayPal password! Nobody but you ever needs that information. If an ’employer’ asks you for your PayPal password or any other password that is a huge red flag!

Checking the domain registration can be a big help. For example, if the company website states they have been in business for 20 years, but the domain registration dates a few months ago, something is definitely suspicious. You can go to to check domain registration. Some people recommend that you double check the contact information on the website to the domain registration, although I don’t do that. Some people (such as myself) will pay extra money to have the domain registration contact information (address, phone number) appear anonymous. I personally don’t want anybody knowing my address or home telephone number since I do work out of my home.

Stay away if they ask for any type of registration fee, or money for ‘training materials’. You do not have to pay $20 to go down to your local grocery store and be a checker, do you? It seems like the smaller the ‘fee’ the more likely people are going to fall for it. They think ‘Oh, well, but it is only $5’. ($10, etc.) Please, just don’t do it! You don’t want a dishonest person laughing all the way to the bank with your hard earned money, right? Remember, on the internet, not everybody is who they say they are!

There are many common places (other than the internet) that you may see an ad for a ‘work at home job‘ that is actually a scam. I have seen them in newspapers, in the back of magazines, on telephone poles, and signs on the side of the road! They are absolutely everywhere, so think logically on this. For example, does your local grocery store advertise on telephone poles when they have a job opening? No, of course they don’t.

One of the biggest red flags for me is a huge website telling you all about how much money you could be making, the cars you could be driving, the mansion you could be living in, and the vacations you could be taking! You sit at your computer getting more and more excited with every passing minute. Dollar signs are flashing in front of your eyes! It is almost too much to stand, they say you can make $1000 a day for hardly doing anything! If only they would tell you WHAT the job is all about, right? The number one thing a real company who wants to hire a new employee will do is list the job position. Then, they will describe what it entails and what their requirements are. Finally, they *might* tell you what the modest, normal salary will be. Sometimes that information is not right on the job listing. I am not going to be making millions sitting in my chair doing nothing and unfortunately, neither will you.

When I receive scam job offers in my e-mail inbox (usually originating from another country and involving sending money via western union), I find that the spelling and use of the English language are horrible. Misspelled word, grammatical errors, and sentences that just don’t make sense are a dime a dozen in these e-mails and advertisements.

Finally, please keep a look out for the webhost and e-mail that the company is using. If they are not legitimate, chances are that they might be using a free webhost, such as geocities, bravenet, etc. Paying to have your own website and domain name is not that expensive. Hey, I pay for my own and I have not gone broke yet! In my opinion, the reason that schemers use these free services is because they are doing something that is likely illegal. If they have to purchase something in order to perform these activities, then a paper trail will have been established. That would make it much easier for authorities to catch them when someone reports them. Also, be very careful if they are using a free e-mail provider such as yahoo or hotmail for the same reasons.

I cannot stress enough how careful we need to be when looking for a work at home job. Please don’t take anybody at their word. Do your research, and then do it again before you accept any job. Remember the key points to look for:

  •  Do they ask for personal information?
  • Check domain registration.
  • Do they ask for money?
  • Where did you find the ad for the job?
  • Do they actually state what the job will entail?
  • Do they promise you riches for a small amount of work?
  • Do they have poor spelling and grammar?
  • Are they using a free webhost/e-mail provider?

More on how to avoid scam

I know of people who have lost hundreds, even thousands of dollars to scam artists since they began working from home. It doesn’t have to be this way. If you do nothing else with this site, I hope you share this page with others so that hopefully fewer people’s money will end up lining the pockets of scammers.

I would like to mention that not all of the scams listed below relate to fake “business opportunities”, but other ways people try to scam you out of your money. Also, please bookmark this page as I will be making additions as often as I can.

First, if you have not already read my article about one of the most common scams out there, please do. Here is the link. You can actually get arrested for getting tangled up in that one.

E-Mail Greeting Card Scam

Beware of any e-mails you recieve that say you have recieved a greeting card from a family member, friend, class mate, etc. Some may even have a name attached. From what I’ve researched, clicking the link in the e-mail can download harmful material to your computer. If you get one of these, just delete it!

New E-Mail Scam

I’m not even sure what to call this one. I can think of one word to describe it though – sick. I know quite a few people who have already seen this attempt at a scam come through their e-mail inboxes, and it’s a new one that I hadn’t seen before so I thought I would give you a heads up. I have seen a few different versions, but basically the e-mail is to tell you that someone has paid to have you killed. However, lucky you, the “hit man” has taken pity on you and is willing to spare your life if you give them some money. Sometimes they will say they have a copy of their conversation with whomever hired them. And of course, you are ordered to not contact the police. If you recieve an e-mail like I have described, I encourage you to report it. Visit FBI.GOV and scroll down a bit until you reach the section titled “NEW TWIST CONCERNING THREAT AND EXTORTION E-MAILS”. They also give the link to IC3 so that you may report it to them. Please tell your friends!

E-Mail Phishing

Phishing is a scam that is meant to steal your identity. Sometimes they are trying to get big information like your social security number, birthdate, etc. Sometimes they simply want your Paypal information so they can clean you out. The e-mails that the “phishers” send out often appear to be very sophisticated and will even have the logo from the company they are pretending to be. Usually, the message you get will claim that your account has been compromised in some way and if you don’t do as instructed your account will be closed. This is meant to get you all nervous and scared because we are talking about your money here! Relax, they say, all you need to do is click on this handy link here and confirm your login information and everything will be just fine. Not really though, because once they have your login information they are going to wipe out whatever account you just gave them access to, and most likely any accounts that you have linked to it as well. I also want to add that usually these e-mails are sent out in large numbers and do not have your actual name. They often say something like “Dear Valued Customer”. However, be careful! I have recieved one supposedly from Yahoo that did have my name. If you ever get ANY e-mail from anyone that wants you to click on a link or send an e-mail back to confirm information DON’T DO IT! Forward the e-mail on to the real company. Since PayPal and eBay are common “fronts” for these scams, I’m including their e-mail addresses that you should send these fake e-mails to so that they may take proper action. If you have received a spoof e-mail from “eBay” forward it to You can also visit this ebay page to read about their position on spoof e-mails. If you believe you have recieved a spoof e-mail from “Paypal” open up a separate window and sign into your Paypal account and visit this address to report it. Paypal also has a separate page about phishing and fake websites. Be careful out there!

Jury Duty Scam

I’m sure that most of you are aware of the trouble you can get into for missing your jury duty. And nobody wants to be arrested right?! Scammers are fully aware of this and will prey on it. In the jury duty scam, someone will call you pretending to be an employee or some official from your local court offices claming that a warrant has been issued for your arrest since you missed jury duty. Then, they ask for private information so that they may “confirm” that they are really talking to you. Often, out of desperation and hopeful that the person on the phone has you mixed up with someone else the victim rattles off their driver’s license number, social security number, birthdate, address, and sometimes even give away their credit card numbers!

Here is what I recommend that you do: Tell them to buzz off, or if you have the time insist you will call them back the next day and ask for their name and number. I would be interested to know what they say! If they actually give you a phone number turn it over to the police. No matter what you DO say to them, DO NOT hand over any personal information whatsoever.

Anything Asking for Money

I have seen hundreds of job offers/opportunities that ask for a small fee for their “training materials” “software” etc. Sometimes these will even show up in Google ads that you see on many sites all over the internet. No matter how tempting it looks, please do not ever pay money to get a job, even if it’s only $5! If it really looks like a great deal and you are tempted, post at a public forum like and ask others what they think. Sometimes when we are so desperate for money or to find a real work at home job we are too trusting. The internet is saturated with these scams, but they would go away if people would stop handing them money!

Credit Card Scam

This scam is a new one to me. In this case, the scammer already has your credit card number, but what they want is the last three numbers on the back of the card so that they can use your information to order goods online. They will call pretending to be from Mastercard, Visa, or some other credit card company. I looked it up on Snopes to check it out; and they say it’s true. They also can explain it better than I can; and since I don’t want to plagarize, here is the link so you can read it for yourself – Snopes Link Don’t ever give someone you don’t know ANY of your personal information.

The Most Common Scam … that I have found.

Sadly, there are thousands upon thousands of people in this world that want your money, and they will do just about anything to get it. Most commonly, they are going to prey on the fact that you need money yourself and pretend they are giving you a job! I get e-mails every day offering opportunities to work from home with minimal effort. I can recognize them easily but unfortunately people fall for them quite often.

First, I want to point out that legitimate employers generally do not e-mail random people that they do not know offering them an online job. That is a huge red flag. Here are the subject lines from a few e-mails I have received lately:





5. Dear Sir/Madam urgent assistance

Please note that the word reconfirm in the first one was misspelled, indicating that English may not be the senders first language. Let�s take a look at the body of the e-mails I have. I am going to cut and paste a few excerpts.


2. I am Mrs.Gladis Jaja the wife of (late) Mr. Christopher Jaja of Zimbabwe.

3. My name is Mr John Biya , one of the Standard Bank manager here in South Africa pretoria Branch.

4. I am MAJOR.JAMES ADAMS, I am a British soldier attached to UN peace Keeping force in Iraq.

One of the e-mails did not directly say where they were from, but the e-mail address was from the UK. So, do you notice anything that these all have in common? That is right! All of these people are presumably from a country other than North America/Canada. In my eyes, this is red flag number two. I have seen legitimate employers in other countries, but they do not contact random people offering them a job! Here are some more quotes from these so called job offers.


2. We need FINANCE CO-ORDINATORS in the United States and Canada due to increase in our Clients as we encountered several difficulties in selling our products to the United State and Canada due to their mode of payment,they often pay with various forms of Checks. As our representative,you shall serve as a link between us and our clients and you will also be responsible for the collection of payments on our behalf.You shall have a 10% commision for every transaction you carry out or payment that you collect on our behalf.

3. In this third example, we have a woman here explaining that her husband has been murdered, but before he was killed, he deposited a great deal of money into the bank in the form of gem stones. She goes on to say – “So if you consider this proposal, we have agreed to give you 20% of the Total sum for helping us to move this money out of South Africa and 5% will be mapped out for expenses both of us may incur during this transaction and 75% will be for me and my family to invest in your country. All I want is for you to furnish me your details and your personal phone and fax numbers and your email address for easy communication and more information.”

4. In this fourth letter, this man is claiming that he is holding the estate (large sum of money) of a deceased man and he is trying to get the money to the mans family. He goes on to say “Consequently, my proposal is that I will like you to stand in as the next of kin to the depositor Late Mr Simon Johnson. As an officer of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this money thus I am compelled to request for your assistance to receive this money into your bank account. I agreed that 35% of this money would be for you as foreign partner, while the balance will be for my colleagues and me.”

5. The total amount is US$25 Million dollars in cash. We want to move this money to you, so That you may keep our share for us unstill when we shall come over to meet you. We will take 60%, my partner and I. You take 40%. No strings attached, just help us move it out of Iraq, Iraq is a war zone.

Again, please note the poor use of the English language. I am sure you have noticed that in each of these instances these people want to give you a large sum of money trusting you to give most of it to someone else. They are even going to let you keep some just for doing them this favor! Let me ask you this – If you had a few million dollars would you just write a check to someone you do not know? Well, no of course not! The way this scam works is as follows: When you reply back accepting the job they will most likely do one of two things, ask for your address so that they may send you a check, or ask for your bank account information so that they can make a deposit straight into your account. Let us say you give them your account numbers. What happens next is your bank account gets cleaned out. Easy as pie. In the other situation, should you give these scammers your mailing address, they will send you a check! You betcha, and it is fake too. Let us say that your bank does cash this check. For examples sake, let us say the check is for $500,000. You cash the check and forward on the amount you have been instructed to some unknown person, say maybe $450,000. Now, you have a nice $50,000 sitting in your bank account. Well, for about 2 days anyway, until the bank figures out that it was a forged check and come after you for the money! Now you are in the hole $500,000 potentially responsible for all of that money. Sometimes it is not a forged check. However if it is real money, it is most likely stolen and you can be arrested for assisting in moving stolen money out of the country. See the link posted at the end of this page. It is best to just let this one pass you by. I wasn’t going to write this article, because I thought that nobody fell for this anymore. However, I was shopping in my local grocery store, and at the service desk I notice a sign that says something like this “We will no longer be sending Western Union transfers to Nigeria.” Judging from that, I am assuming (and I could be wrong) that someone here in my little town fell for this common scam.

So, please do not EVER accept any job offer such as this. There are some similar scams that are essentially the same. For example, you put an ad on the internet that you have a boat/car/motorcycle for sale. Someone contacts you from another country (usually) saying that they want your item, and are willing to pay you MUCH extra if you will arrange shipment of the item to them. Sometimes they even want to write you an extra large check and forward some of the money on to someone else (themselves). Of course the check is fake and they end up with your money and your boat/car/motorcycle. I also want to mention another scam that I have seen although not nearly as often as I have seen these others. The person wants to send you a package to have you to forward it on to someone else. Many times it is an item that is coming into the country illegally and if you get caught you could get convicted of a crime! If I have not convinced you yet, please take a look at this news story where a Texas woman did fall for one of these scams and goes to trial in August. Please be careful out there and do your homework before you do anything you might regret!

Not all of these key points will apply to every single scam out there, but this will help you identify some that you need to stay away from! Be careful out there. It is better to make no money than to lose some.