Virtual Job Scams
Working from home is a great way to make money and take advance of flexible work conditions. It can also be such a great option, that scammers advertise these opportunities as bait to unwary students. Distinguishing between legitimate virtual jobs and fraudulent ones can be hard, but here are some tips to keep in mind.
You can often tell if a job is safe by simply looking at the job description. Employers will hire virtual employees for customer service or sales positions (jobs that require talking on the phone). But scammers will create jobs that simply don’t make sense.
If you are not working in customer service, sales, or grass roots marketing, be skeptical of the virtual job you are considering. Always ask yourself why the employer would pay someone to do this job? Below are examples of improbable virtual jobs:
Envelope stuffing and at-home assembly: It is not cost effective for the employer to pay you to do these jobs. They can get people to do these jobs for a low rate; so don’t expect them to pay you.
Medical billing tracking: These types of jobs are normally reserved for people with major security access and cannot be offered as basic internships. Remain cautious of companies that specialize in medical-based billing and accounting.
Software downloads: If you have to download and buy software, do not participate. You should never have to purchase anything to become an intern.
Receiving and forward packages: In this scam, you're asked to receive packages at your home from established Internet companies and then forward them on to another address, these so call "jobs" are simply designed to help scammers steal merchandise online, and taking on these tasks for money (often "tax free", paid in cash or through Western Union) puts you right in the middle.
Questions to Ask
Be prepared for the interview with the questions.
What will my day-to-day look like? What are the individual tasks I will be doing?
How will I be paid? Are taxes taken out?
Where will my payment come from?
Where is the company physically located? Can I find (and talk to) my boss through established online and offline channels?