Many mums look into the idea of working from home or running their own small business after having children. It just makes sense to be based at home and have more flexibility for the kids. And after a lovely maternity leave, who really fancies dragging themselves back to the office?
One thing about trying to find a work-at-job or business opportunity that turns people off or frightens them away from the idea, is the prevalence of scams. Sadly, it’s true that there are an awful lot of scams out there that prey on vulnerable women just looking to make extra money for their families.
One thing you have to realise is that work-from-home scams have been around long before online work-from-home scams existed. They were often advertisements in various magazines that promised millions for doing nothing, just send in your money to find out how. Nowadays the scammers have gone online, and if anything they’re even more prevalent.
Of course, there are plenty of legit opportunities out there too, so don’t let me scare you off! You just need to keep a few key principles in mind.
Here are some ways to tell whether a business opportunity is real, or simply too good to be true.
No Way to Contact the Business
If the opportunity is real, they’ll have a real business website with a real business email address at the minimum, not a Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail address.
Nowadays it is more common for all kinds of businesses to use alternate means of communication such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, but for any legit companies, you should easily be able to get a real person on the phone if you need to. A legit company should also share their physical address. If it’s a UK business, see if you can look up the people and the name of the business in Companies House to find out more information.
Promises of Riches Overnight
Any plan that claims you’ll become rich overnight is a scam. It’s just not going to happen. Working from home at a job, or running your own business, requires skill, work, and more work to make money. You’re not going to just set up a business and do nothing and get paid.
They Ask for Money Up Front (and Now)
Many MLMs (Multi-Level Marketing) do ask for money up front, which is a business investment. Even if you don’t like MLMs, some of them are legitimate companies with real opportunity, although it has to be said that the vast majority of people getting into MLMs will lose money overall.
However, some jobs or opportunities only want your money. You should have plenty of time to do research before giving anyone money. Although an investment in a business opportunity is considered normal, you should never pay to get a job.
You Feel Pressured to Act Now
If you’ve been contacted by someone making a lot of promises to you about making tons of money and claiming you must act right now or lose out forever, it’s a scam. A real opportunity is going to be there tomorrow.
It Has Anything to Do with Western Union
Sorry to name a place like this but it’s true; if you need to use Western Union to send money to anyone, run. In fact, any type of money-changing, bank-involved delivery system is usually a scam and it’s not only that; it’s illegal and you could end up in jail.
It Sounds Too Good to Be True
You know it in your gut that it’s just too good to be true, but you are tempted.
Take some time to research the company and not just the people and places they give you to research. Do your due diligence and walk away if you can’t prove they’re legitimate.
Random Email Offering Position You Did Not Apply For Directly
This happens sometimes when you apply for or fill out real job opportunities online. They get the information online and then they send you unsolicited jobs or offers of advice for a fee. It’s no different than a phone call during dinner making you promises. Delete.
They Offer Outlandish Pay for Low Wage Position Titles
This is a common sign of a scam. You’ll see the advertisement on a seemingly legitimate website that promises a lot of money for many different positions that just do not earn that kind of money. Be realistic. You’re not going to make $45 dollars an hour as a receptionist.
Above all, pay attention to your gut. If it feels fishy, it probably is. Some of these scammers only want you to fill out their applications so they can steal your identity, so don’t blindly give out information such as your NI number to strangers. It’s always worth Googling the company you want to work for too as there are many forums and blogs dedicated to exposing scammy companies.