Learn how to recognize work from home opportunity scams

10/13/2009

One of the most difficult things for people new to trying work at home programs is learning how to tell which opportunities are legitimate. The best advice is that you should use a combination of critical thinking, and information obtained by researching. Familiarize yourself with the common types of scam formats; which are Ponzi schemes, Pyramid scams, employment and job training scams, reshipping programs, and phishing. If you know how the most common scams work, you are much less likely to be taken in by one.

You should also learn which types of programs tend to have high scam rates. A few examples are Pay to Click sites, MLM opportunities, autosurf exchanges, paid cyclers, envelope stuffing, jobs that require the purchase of a training program, and assembly work. Once again not all may be bad; but there do tend to be a very high percentage of scams within those programs. Learn to examine those types of programs even more critically. Find out how the ones that are known to be scams have operated and taken people in, and what patterns they have followed.

Chances are that you will not be the first person who has heard of the program you are interested in, so take advantage of that. Google it both by name, and then again by adding the word scam to the end of the name. All programs may have a small amount of negative feedback even if they are legit. This can happen because some people may not have applied themselves, did not understand the program, or are disgruntled that they have been tossed from the program for violating rules. It could also be a shady competitor trying to cloud the image of a good program. The presence of a negative posting does not always mean the program is not good, but there should never be a large number of negative postings on any legitimate program. Look for proof of validity and good ethics in the program of your interest before pursuing it.

When analyzing a work from home opportunity, it is important that you think about it not from the aspect of the worker, but from the aspect of the employer. Learn to ask yourself “If this were my program, where would most of my money likely be coming from?” If the answer is from selling training programs, members recruiting other members, products or supplies that have to be purchased by employees, or membership fees; it is probably not legitimate. If the program is promising very high payouts, and when looking at it from the prospective of the employer you cannot see where they are definitely making more than enough money to cover it; it is always a scam.

How is the program presented? If it involves a product or service; but more focus is paid to recruiting members or the amazing amount of earnings potential than it is to the product or service they offer, it is not a good sign. If they are an employment site such as a “Get paid for doing data entry” program, are there sections advertising that service to clients, or just the sales pitch about the incredible job opportunity? How are they getting clients if all they are advertising is employment?

Are they using the greed factor by presenting the larger than life American dream? Does the advertising feature pictures of Lear jets, imported sports cars, huge homes, and beautiful people sipping umbrella drinks by the beach? Unless it is a job selling luxury items; these images are to distract you from the nagging feeling you probably have suspecting that this is not a legit opportunity, by directly appealing to the greed and desire that all people have to live well. But that is all it is, is an image; not a reality.

Learn to see through the slick sales pitches. Keep the following in mind: If you really have managed to find the secret and elusive method that will make you thousands of dollars a day online while you are asleep; how many people would you tell about it? Most likely, you could count the number of people on one hand who knew all of the details and have fingers left over. You would not want tons of competition; because if everyone started doing it, then it would be copied to death and would not work anymore. The last thing that people or companies with hot business ideas do is sell eBooks with their business models in it to thousands of other people. I am not saying it can’t be done, just that those that do it don’t ever market it in that way. Google makes a ton of money with their internet program, but NOBODY knows exactly how it all works. Even the people that work for Google only know a small portion of the bigger picture.

Recognize that anyone can write a testimonial, and they are often written by the founders of the programs themselves. Testimonials should only ever be considered real if they contain verifiable contact information and/or you are 100% sure that they come from a reputable source. An endorsement of a product or service from a reputable company, with the name and/or email of a specific person is likely to be legit. A picture of some random person with the endorsement Joe Smith, Anywhere USA could be written by anyone. Unless you live in Anywhere, USA and Joe Smith is your neighbor; you really have no way of knowing if it is a real endorsement or not. Also, many reviews or testimonials are paid advertisements; so the people writing them have incentive to make it sound good so they will be paid. Many times, they have never even tried the product.

Get into the habit of checking into the Whois listing for an employer’s website. Companies that are legitimate will usually have that information publicly available. If it is privately listed, that may indicate this program feels that they have something to hide. Also, programs that are legit tend to have real websites, and not just flashy “splash pages” trying to sell you something. A forum attached to a site’s program adds some validity, because they are obviously not overly concerned that disgruntled users are going to trash them on their own site.

Often, companies will have a “front man” that is the head of the program. You should try to find out who the person running or advertising the program is, and Google them as well to find out what their reputation is. Running a good scam that works takes a lot of thought and effort. People do not stumble into it accidentally. Usually they will run scam after scam, and not just do it once as an isolated event. Once they have gotten “easy money” by scamming they will generally continue to do so until it catches up to them and they go to jail for it. It is not unusual to find that the front men of current programs have run questionable programs before. They may even be wanted in one country and have moved to another to start a new scam and escape prosecution.

Not all programs that have startup expenses are bad, but you need to learn to analyze what the purpose of the fee is for in order to make an informed choice. Ebooks and CD Roms containing information do not have a high production cost, so there is no reason to think $79.99 is a reasonable price for such products. Learn to ask yourself if the price for the product really seems reasonable for the value it offers. Many times this type of information can be obtained elsewhere for free. You should also ask yourself who benefits from this startup cost, and if it is really a reasonable expectation. Employers that have legitimate work to provide don’t need funds from mandatory training programs to earn revenues; they make money from the clients providing the work.

Training programs that are free but not paid for your time, or are offered as optional in order to increase your proficiency are not as likely to be scams as someone who is requiring you to pay them to learn to do their work. Training programs not directly attached to jobs with low one time or monthly fees are more likely to be legit than ones that charge large amounts up front. While the information may usually be learned on your own free, these are not necessarily always scams. Some people may find more benefit to having the information given to them in a way that they can easily and immediately access it, than they do in taking the time to hunt it down from the net on their own. Just be aware that anything you need to learn about how to make the most out of online earnings programs or work from home ops can be learned for free someplace.

I have never purchased any training packages from anyone. However I will admit that it has taken a lot of time spent on cruising the net for information, and long experience with using these programs to gain the knowledge I currently have about how they all work. Some people may prefer to skip that, and get the info for a fee. I do not really view this as being any different than buying something from a convenience store at a higher price. As long as you know you can find out almost anything for free, and you don’t mind paying for the convenience, then you may find some benefit to these programs. You will still want to check them out to make sure they do have valuable information, though. As this blog grows, I intend to try to include as much of that type of information here as possible as free tips and training in order to benefit our readers; so you may want to check here first before buying any training.

Companies that require equipment to be purchased may or may not be legit. If the equipment is reasonably priced and seems to make sense as a job requirement that is one thing. Having to pay large amounts for supply packets, demo kits, etc. upfront is another. Someone requiring you to buy a demo kit is asking for you to cover the costs of their advertising materials. Equipment that could be used to work at another business or employer is much more likely to be legit and is a safer bet than anything specific to that employer only. Opportunities such as a major insurance carrier requiring you to have a dedicated landline phone to take CSR calls, or a transcribing company that is requiring a foot pedal you can purchase anywhere are usually legit. These are items that you would reasonably expect to need to be able to perform the work, and they are not benefitting any by requiring you to have them since they are not demanding that you buy it through them.

Another good resource is using review or information websites about work at home opportunities to help you make decisions. You should be aware that not all of these are accurate or legitimate either. Almost all work from home info sites, including this one, will gain some benefit if you sign up from a program using an affiliate link. That is normal and acceptable; we are all here and doing these things to make money. What is not acceptable is when sites are heavily promoting programs that seem fishy, have hard sales pitches for signing up to programs instead of presenting information in a factual manner and offering a link, and do not focus on giving good information on avoiding scams. Some sites may recommend programs they believe to be legit, but have actually been taken in by a scam themselves and are unknowingly promoting it to other people. Even the best of opportunity reviewers can get fooled at times, because scammers can be very slick. There is also the possibility that a program that was formerly legitimate may go bad. It does happen, which is why I recommend you always check into a program for yourself in multiple places to make sure you are getting a full and current picture of its performance and habits.

You should also be aware that some schemes, like Ponzi and Pyramid scams ALWAYS start off appearing to be legit, and have tons of glowing reviews from early participants. If they did not, they would not gain enough momentum to draw enough people into the scam to benefit the scammer. However, they are both doomed by design to fail down the line, and will always do so. I cannot stress enough to learn to recognize them. Fortunately, this is easily done if you know how they work.

When it comes down to the end of things, all you can really do is use your best judgment based upon the information you have available to you. Remember that you are dealing with the internet; and it may not be a company with a known physical location, or a person you can talk to if you are unhappy with something. If you decide you want to participate in a program that has expenses and you are not sure that it is legit; the safest bet is just to make sure that you never invest anything in any opportunity that you cannot afford to lose.

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5 comments:

Sanesh.avasthi said...

There , are methods to know which companies are scam or not. They should have genuine address , telephone numbers and feedback . before joining any online company , make sure you do notget cheated and , when you decide you want to participate in a program that has expenses and you are not sure that it is legit

anouaros said...

There are many great work at home opportunities but remember that there are just as many scam out there so just always remember to do your research and also if it sounds to good to be true then it probably is.

I think that work from home is very great but we should be aware from scamers so there are no way to make some experminets to know who are the sammers.

Raptordinos said...

For us, the people who are always finding a way to gain some extra money in the web, is very important this information about how recognize scam site. I use PTC sites, and the most of them begin paying to catch the people and after get enough members and money they run away with our money and open another site to star again with the scam.

Good post. Thanks

Ework 411 said...

Raptordinos, that is one of the main reasons why we generally do not spend much time or focus on PTC sites on this blog. I do know that there are a few good legit ones out there, but there are tons and tons of them that are not legit as well. I just don't have the time to try them all out, and still get around to the many other good types of opportunities that are available. If you use PTC sites, I highly recommend using this site to check them out: http://ptc-investgations.blogspot.com/. PTC Investigations is a very reputable blog that strictly focuses on those types of programs, and they have a lot of very good information about which ones are legit or not.

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