Last week I got an email asking about a mailing program. She said she’d sent her money but hadn’t heard anything and could I help. I asked for more details and she said she’d sent money to Preston Lord Enterprises, which she knew was in New Jersey, but couldn’t find a number to call. I hated having to write back and tell her she’d probably never see her money or the “mailing” package she’d ordered.

The week before that, I helped stop another person from depositing a fake check in a mystery shopping scam (note mystery shopping can be legit, but this one wasn’t). For everyone who contacts me, there are many others, I’m sure, who don’t and end up losing money and their dreams of working from home.

I have written about scams quite a bit before and I recommend you check out the Scam Alert page for details on evaluating scams and common scams to avoid. In this post, I wanted to cover some of the tricks scammers use to lure you in so you can avoid being conned.

1) “The money is to prove you’re interested in the job.” I don’t see this gimmick quite as much anymore, but one thing I’ve learned over the years is that scams cycle. So just because you don’t see now, doesn’t mean it’s not going to show up again. Legitimate employers NEVER ask for money as a way to show you’re really interested in a job. Legit employer ask for a resume.

2) “The money is to cover our costs of setting up your account.” When was the last time your boss charged you money to put you on the payroll or for paperclips? Again, legitimate employers don’t charge you money to hire you. They may require that you have specific tools or equipment for the job, but they won’t sell it to you. They’ll expect you to get it on your own.

3) “Get the secrets…” There really are no secrets. There might be information you don’t know yet or their might be new techniques to achieving results, but there are no secrets to success.

4) “You can get this deal today only.” Nobody likes to miss out and scammers know it. But how many times have you walked away to have a website or car salesman offer a lower price? Further, odds are the price quoted is the standard price all the time, not just for today. It’s critical that you think about and research work-at-home options. If the guy on the other end of the phone or email doesn’t understand or support that, then he should be considered suspect.

5) “I only want to work with serious people.” Usually you hear this as a biting remark when you say ‘no’. I’m often surprised at how nasty sales people get when you say no. Do they think by insulting me I’m going to change my mind? “Oh please, please work with me!” I don’t think so. Anyone trying to sell you something who resorts to negative barbs when you give objections isn’t someone you want to work with.

6) “Earn $$$ Guaranteed!” Who doesn’t want guaranteed income? You can get a guaranteed income…it’s called a wage or salary. But programs that offer a guaranteed income that isn’t a wage or salary should be suspect. Offering a guarantee that can’t be backed up is against the law. Most scammers know that so odds are the process to get your money back when the guarantee doesn’t come through is really difficult.

7) Beware of “Free” especially if it asks for payment information. While jobs are free, many programs say they’re free when what’s free is a trial period and then you’re charged. Many of these programs make it difficult to cancel and month after month you’re paying money.

8) It’s too good to be true. The old adage of ‘if it’s too good to be true it probably is’ has merit.

9) “We chose you…” emails. These are the emails that say you’re hired or won money or look like a nice person to help princess somebody get her money out of the country. The odds of you getting a job or making money from an email is so close to zero that you should delete any money-making email you get. Employers aren’t scouring the Internet looking for employees. Foreign rich people aren’t plucking your name/email off the Internet to send you money.

Here are some tips for avoiding getting tripped up by the above tactics:

1) Never pay money to get a job. Legitimate employers never charge money to hire you. This rule is only for employment. If someone is charging money, they’re either scamming you or it’s not a job.

2) Sleep on it. You’re more likely to avoid getting scammed or experiencing buyer’s remorse if you don’t join up right then and there.

3) Do your research. The Internet is filled with people sharing their thoughts and experiences with work-at-home programs.

4) Read the fine print. Sometimes you have to search for it. Often it’s way at the bottom of the website in a tiny, nearly transparent colored font. If you’ve received paperwork, read everything before signing and sending money. Pay particular attention to refund policies.

5) Never use your personal bank account to help a company do business. If a $3,000 check shows up in your mailbox out of the blue, tear it up or give it to the police. Never cash it.

Note: Work-At-Home Success contains advertising as well as screened work-at-home jobs and resources. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you register or buy using the link. Occasionally, WAHS publishes “Supporting Contributor” posts or paid reviews for which compensation is paid. These posts are marked as such. All opinions are my own. Click here for full details and disclosures.

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