The rise of work-from-home opportunities creates a new kind of scam.
As COVID continues into 2022 coupled with the rise of The Great Resignation, experts predict that 23% of individuals will voluntarily leave their jobs in 2022 to seek new opportunities (CNBC, 2022). In 2021, the rate of individuals leaving their jobs was never higher, with 4.5 million voluntarily leaving their jobs in November - exactly 3% of the non-farm workforce (Lagorsky, 2022).
In these difficult times, many of us have left our jobs in search for opportunities that can allow us to work from home. Currently in the United States, more than 4.7 million people work remotely and that number is constantly on the rise. In addition to this, “85% of managers believe that having teams with remote workers will become the new norm” (Steward, 2021).
Unfortunately, scammers are very aware of our desire to move toward remote work and have devised new ways to target us with “Work-from-home Scams”.
Increasing numbers of scammers have been posing as reputable independent contractors, companies, or larger corporations to try to get you to apply for their fake work-from-home job positions. They use the job offer as a way to steal your personal information or financial assets.
In 2021, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received over 59,000 consumer complaints about sham job and false business opportunities which is more than double the amount reported in 2019 (AARP, 2022)
If you are searching for work-from-home opportunities, make sure to validate the legitimacy of the company before signing any contracts. In addition, never provide them with personal information that might give them access to steal your identity or savings without validating the company is legitimate first.
What is the scam?
Usually, an ad will be published either online via social media or in print with claims of new work-from-home opportunities.
The job offer will promise high pay and will not require any experience or skills. Usually, the job will seem too good to be true, like offering incredible perks and extremely high salary for little work.
In addition, they may request you pay an upfront fee for training or any other materials the job may require. This is a very clear sign of a work-from-home scam as, generally speaking, employers are the ones who are supposed to pay employees, and not the other way around.
A common sign of this scam is if you try to research and can’t find very much information about the company. The company should have an official website, as well as social media pages. If there is no online presence, you can see it as a warning sign.
If you do find a company website, but it seems very unclear what the company does, this can also be a sign of a job scam. A lot of scammers will try to use extremely vague descriptions of the job offer in order to be relatable to a wide range of candidates.
What should you do to prevent work-from-home scam?
Whenever you are presented with a work-from-home opportunity, it is important to ask a lot of questions before signing any contracts or sending any payments.
For example you should ask how and when you will be paid, whether it consists of salary or if the payments are commission based
Also make sure to thoroughly research the company.
You can reach out to your state consumer protection agency or with the local Better Business Bureau to ask them for a background check on the company.
Never share sensitive personal or financial information over email, text messages or over the phone.
Lastly, if you have been a victim of a work-from-home scam or if you suspect a company is committing any kind of job scam you can report it to the FTC either on their website or by calling 877‑382‑4357.
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