Work At Home: Don’t Get Scammed
So, you’ve decided to stay at home and work due to family or personal reasons, for flexibility or profit. How do you find a job opportunity? You may try checking the Internet. You get an Internet account and spend some time surfing various websites, looking for opportunities. And there seems to be many – even without trying, you will probably find emails begin to flood into your inbox – invitations to participate in financial schemes, business opportunities – all guaranteed to succeed, of course, according to the sender. What do you do, how can you sift through the jumble of attractive advertisements for work-at-home employment and reach the genuine opportunity? Here are some tips:
Look Before You Leap, Or Part With Credit Details
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Yet, many unsuspecting homeworker wannabes have been tempted to part with sensitive information just because they were asked in an email. Be on the lookout – the request may come in a seemingly harmless manner – as part of an offer, you may be asked to give your name and details so that an “employment” card may be made up for you. Or provide credit card details so that another “GOLD” card,
“no questions asked” can be yours. Never, never give out these details because they can so easily be used for fraudulent purposes.
Who Are You?
Ask this question to anyone who offers you online employment. Is the company offering to hire you themselves? In which case, you have every right to know more about them, including checking them out with the Registrar of Companies, or with the Securities Commission if investment is involved. Or is the company only offering to sell you training materials and act as your agent in procuring some business for you? In this case, you will have a host of legitimate questions to ask – including the pricing of the training materials, how extensive the materials are, who their customer base is and how they will act as your agent. For example, you may be under the impression that the company is actually going to get you clients, while they may only be prepared to pass you a generic email list, often purchased from other companies. It is expected of you to do the hard work of personally soliciting business. Get details! Remember, suspect the company that seems shy about disclosing the above information. After all, a legitimate venture will be happy to provide you with information on the who, what, when, where, andhow of your new business.
Big Profits Don’t Come Easy
This age-old piece of wisdom somehow gets forgotten easily. Operating a homebased business is just like operating any other sort of business where profits are concerned. Basically, you are shifting your office to your home, that’s it! To make the big bucks, you need to take care of the basics, for example find something you can do well, put in lots of hard work, invest wisely in tools and equipment and constantly improve your skills and knowledge. If someone offers you huge amounts of ringgit for “very little work”, watch out – there’s a scam in there somewhere.
A good way to find out about the prospective company or business is to ask for references, or if you are given referrals from someone you trust regarding the legitimacy of the work-at-home opportunity. Speak directly to the referee if possible. If contacting the person through the telephone is out of the question, then communicate through email or slow mail. Apply the same criteria to judge the references as described in item 2 above.
Are Refunds Available?
Some business opportunities may involve the purchase of supplies, equipment, tools and so forth. One factor you will definitely need to find out is whether the company has a refund policy. If it does, it would be wise for you to know the terms and conditions before making a commitment. There are two aspects to this: Firstly, you don’t want to get into a scam where the business itself is the company making profits out of your purchase of these supplies, tools and equipment. Secondly, if the business is genuine and you find out after your initial foray into it that it does not suit you, you need to know how to cut your losses.
Profitable Even With Hard Work?
There are scams where the so-called employment premise is that you buy into the “business” with an initial investment of some sort, after which you will be given a “Starter kit/pack” with the required supplies to perform/complete the work. The scam is in the fact that the work is difficult and demotivating and the product is often not meant to be successfully put together or marketed. Eventually, you are meant to give up, and when you do, your initial investment goes up in smoke as well. No refunds for you but fat profits for the company, very often done with a “no refund” policy somewhere in the fine print of their advertisement.
Recently, there have been solicitations and advertisements for work-at-home personnel for certain “specialised services” such as billing services – medical and utility – and arts and crafts-based work. Do some market research before you sign up. How feasible are these efforts on your part – i.e. is there a market in your area for these services? If you are being recruited with the promise that existing customers are already using such services, contact them for confirmation, and get a more complete picture of the services required.
This tip actually goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. Before you begin taking on any type of specialised work, check whether there are any special legal requirements. These may include licensing requirements, registrations and zoning for certain types of business activities. Check with local authorities, for example, your municipality and the Registrar of Companies for these requirements.
Check Information Sources
Before you plunge into any particular business type, check information sources, for example trade journals and websites such as the Malaysian Franchise Association. They would be able to provide you with valuable and reliable information on news, training, events and happenings. Also, you are likely to find details on links – both government and industry – as well as have access to forums to ask questions, air concerns and so forth.
Beware Of Advances Or Special Offers
Part of “sniffing out” a scam involves looking out for so-called advances on your wages upon starting up with a company. This is one common method employed in order to gain your trust, as well as to swindle you out of your money. First, you are sent a cheque – supposedly an advance on your first month’s pay. This gives you confidence that you are part of a genuine enterprise. Of course, upon receiving the payment, you deposit your cheque. Just before the cheque gets cleared, you are contacted by the company and asked to return a portion of the money, or to send back the cheque because of some trifling mistake, with a promise that you would be paid the right amount very soon. After you return the money (with your own cheque), you will hear that the company’s cheque has bounced. Thus, the scam succeeds in getting your money. And you get a bounced cheque back from your bank – with no hope of getting a refund from the con company.
Pyramid – A Shape To Watch Out For
Pyramid schemes are bad news, whichever way you look at it. Basically, it is any venture that involves “expansion of business” not through the genuine exchange of goods or services for a fee, but through the recruitment of so-called new members who are supposed to continue expanding the “business” by recruiting even more suckers – sorry, “members”. Sometimes, the pyramid scam company would pretend that there is a genuine article that you can actually purchase, for example paintings, but if you study it further, you will see that the main activity is the enlargement of the base of the pyramid by getting more “downliners”. Often, the initial inducement, at least for the early members, involves large payments. This has happened a lot, unfortunately, in our country, and many innocent folk have been conned into parting with larger sums of money after having received their initial payout. Then, they lose their hard-earned money when the pyramid collapses, as every pyramid must.
Do be wary of these “easy money” invitations highlighted above. Here’s wishing you all the best as a homeworker.