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How to Identify Legitimate Work-From-Home Opportunities and Avoid Scams

8 Minutes

More and more people are working from home these days. If you’re with the same employer since before the COVID-19 pandemic, you can rest easy about your job being legit. But if you’re now on the hunt for a remote job, here are some tips to find legitimate work-from-home opportunities.

If you’re not sure how to get started, you’re not alone. There are certainly a lot of scams out there just waiting to be found. The good news is, you can eliminate most of those scams simply by knowing what to look for, and below are some excellent ways to get started.

 

Set Realistic Expectations

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Look at work-from-home jobs the same way you look at any job you’ve applied to before, and be realistic about what you might find. The compensation for a remote job should be similar to the same in-office role. Consider the job itself and research what the average person doing that job makes, then compare that to the salaries you find in the ads. At the same time, if you are attracted to a job, but you have no skills in that area, don’t let a scammer convince you that you’ll be hired anyway.

 

Research the Company

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It is always good practice to research the company you are applying to. While even the best companies will have some complaints, you should never trust a company that has too many dissatisfied employees or contractors. Pay close attention to what the reviewers say. For the most part, these reviews will be genuine.

Another good practice is to check out the company on the Better Business Bureau website, which keeps track of complaints lodged by scammed individuals. Don’t panic if the company doesn’t have any rating with the BBB. That may simply mean that no comments – neither good nor bad – were received about that particular company.

 

Choose Reputable and Trusted Companies

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There are certain things a reputable company will and won’t do, and this is a good way to gauge a company’s legitimacy. When completing a job application, you should have access to a complete job description and information on the hiring process. Both of these should be similar to the way most legitimate organizations conduct business.

A legitimate company won’t ask for your personal information, and they won’t ask for money upfront. Remember, you’re the one who’s supposed to get paid. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but they are few and far between.

Finally, keep in mind that a legitimate company will pay its employees around the industry standard for their roles regardless of its location. If you see a job that offers to pay you a full-time salary for what is explicitly described as a part-time job, take a closer look! Chances are you might be walking into a scam.

 

Use Job Search Sites That Specialize in Work-From-Home Jobs

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There are job sites that specialize in work-from-home jobs that are legitimate, and if you execute an online search, you’ll be able to find who they are. Some of these companies include:

  • Flex Jobs
  • Indeed.com (offers both regular and remote jobs)
  • Working Solutions
  • Remote OK
  • We Work Remotely
  • Working Nomads
  • Jobspresso
  • Remote.co
  • Remote Work Hub
  • Rat Race Rebellion

There are others, of course, but this is a great list to start with, because they have all been verified as legitimate work-from-home employment opportunities.

 

Prepare for a Remote Interview

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Shutterstock; Photo by Hananeko_Studio

Just like a regular job, companies that hire remote workers will usually conduct an interview with you, and it’s good to take this interview seriously. In fact, treat it like you would any other interview, which means preparing some answers to potential questions, dressing professionally, and showing up to the interview on time.

Treat your work-from-home interview like you would any other interview.

Remember that remote employers are looking for the same things that any other employer looks for, which means they’ll expect you to have certain job skills, act professional, and be willing to share your resume with them. To most of these employers, the only difference between their job and a regular job is that everything is done virtually, instead of in a brick-and-mortar location.

 

A Few Tips for Avoiding Scams

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As you might have already guessed, there are certain red flags that pop up when an employer might not be on the up-and-up. Some of these red flags include the following:

  • The job is too good to be true.
  • Communication from the employer is poor or messy.
  • The company seems over-eager to hire you.
  • You cannot find a lot of information on the company.
  • You find warnings about the company online.
  • They expect you to pay a fee to work for them.
  • You cannot find any information that confirms they’re legitimate.

There are also certain jobs that seem to attract scammers more than others. Some companies use the “faulty check” method, whereby they send you a check for more than what they owe you, then expect you to mail back the difference. The problem is, the check usually ends up being a bad one.

Also, be aware of two other types of scams: MLMs (multi-level marketing companies) and medical billing opportunities. While both of these have their share of legitimate companies, there are also many scammers out there, because they know that these are popular types of jobs that a lot of people are looking for.


The bottom line is this: the more you research a company, the more likely you’ll be able to find a legitimate one. Communicate with the company to see how they respond. If you’re not happy with their response or you get no response at all, this is never a good sign.

Research the company as much as possible, and if there are any doubts in your mind as to the legitimacy of the company, pass them over and continue your search. Only by doing these things will you be able to find the great work-from-home opportunity that you’ve always dreamed of.

Opportunities await.

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