With the major shift that our work force has experienced recently, it is very likely that a lot of us now have a hybrid or fully remote, work from home job. While there are many perks to this transition, there is one disadvantage that comes with it – work from home scams. Deceitful cyber criminals are creating phony job postings where they may pose as a company or reputable person to convince you to trust them and believe the job is legitimate in order to steal your personal information or financial assets.
To avoid these types of scams and stay protected, here are some tips to follow:
- Stay alert of phishing scams and do not respond to calls, text messages or emails from unknown numbers or suspicious email addresses.
- Never share sensitive personal or financial information over email, text messages or the phone.
- Do not click any links in any message you receive that you do not recognize. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they sent it and it’s legitimate.
- Consider adding your number to the National Do Not Call Registry to prevent unwanted calls.
- File a report with local law enforcement if you believe your personal or financial information has been stolen.
It may be challenging to tell if a work from home job posting is a scam or not. Ask yourself these questions to make sure it’s legitimate.
1. Does the job seem too good to be true?
If you receive a job offer that is unbelievable, it's most likely fake. Trust your intuition if a work from home opportunity seems too good to be true. For example, if a company is offering an extremely high salary or incredible perks to persuade you to take the offer, put your guard up with a bit of skepticism. Likewise, if the company is offering you a job that you aren't qualified for, that could be a sign of a scam.
2. Is there little to no information about the company online?
Do your research on the company. They should have a website and some kind of social media presence, specifically on LinkedIn. If you can't find anything about the organization online, it may be time to continue with the job search elsewhere. If you do find a website, but can't easily figure out what kind of work they do, this is also a sign of a scam.
3. Can an alternate contact confirm the legitimacy of the job offer?
It's a good idea to try and get in touch with someone else from the company. Try to find this contact information on your own, perhaps on the company website, rather than asking the employer and ask this alternate person to provide more information about the company.
4. Are you able to find any warnings online?
Google the name of the company or employer. The search results may show that other people have fallen for this scam. If you see job websites with warnings about the company, consider that a red flag. Likewise, if there are poor reviews about the company, do not proceed with the offer and look for a job elsewhere.
5. Is the employer overly eager to hire you?
A major red flag of a work from home scam is when the employer wants to hire you immediately. Most legitimate employers don't contact you themselves. You are more likely to be contacted by the Human Resources department first. Actual employers make candidates feel comfortable, so if a company is pressuring you to accept the job offer on the spot, kindly ask for some time before responding to them.
6. Do you have to pay to work?
A common scam is when employers claim you need to invest an amount of money into your work to get started. You should never pay money to earn money. Although, a subscription fee may come with various legitimate online job websites, so keep that in mind while job hunting.
7. Does the employer communicate poorly?
When speaking or emailing with an employer, you would expect them to have well written and communication skills. If they don’t speak to you in a professional manner, words are misspelled or punctuation is off, those are signs of a scam.
What Should You Do If You Get Scammed?
If you fall victim to a work from home scam, act right away, especially if they have your personal information.
- Notify all of your financial institutions to alert them of the situation.
- Report the scam to:
- Check with the Attorney General’s office in your state and the state where the company is located. Check out the National Association of Attorneys General to find yours, and to see if you’re protected by laws that regulate scams against home workers.
As nice as work from home jobs are, it’s important to do your research and gather all of the information you can about the company. You don’t want to make the wrong move in your career and fall for a scam while doing so! For more tips and resources, read our other blogs on Privacy & Cybersecurity to learn more about the scams to look out for and visit the Lakeland Bank identity theft information center. If you believe you are victim of a scam and your personal information has been compromised, contact us – we’re here to help!