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Website scammers prey on people who want to work from home by making promises about the amount of money you can make and how easy the work is to do. They make the supposed job opportunity sound so good that you won’t want to pass it up. That’s why thousands of people fall victim to these scams each year.

If you truly want to work from home, you have to know how to spot a job scam without your emotions getting in the way. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of questions to ask yourself before signing up for anything.

Does the Website Look Reputable?

Real businesses take the time to design professional looking websites. Scammers open and close template-based websites quickly to avoid getting caught. This means that scam websites don’t usually have the attention to detail found on professional websites. If you come across a website offering a work at home job opportunity but things look like they have been put together haphazardly, you should think twice before trusting the website.

One tell-tale sign that you’re dealing with a scam website is if there is only one page of content. Real businesses typically have several pages of information and may even have a blog where they post news and business updates. Several spelling and grammar errors are another thing to watch out for.

Does the Website Have a Dedicated Domain Name or Security?

Many scam websites do not have a dedicated domain name. For instance, I often see scam websites use blogspot.com instead of buying a domain name and setting up a dedicated website. This is because scammers want to minimize the ways they can be tracked. Buying a domain name requires a credit card, but signing up for a blogspot.com account only requires a name and email address — and it doesn’t even have to be a real name.

Of course, if a website does use a real domain name, this does not mean it offers a real work at home job opportunity. You should also look for “https” at the beginning of the URL instead of just “http.” This means the website has spent money on security, which increases the chances that you’re dealing with a legitimate job opportunity, even though it isn’t failsafe.

Can You Find Real Contact Information?

Scam artists don’t provide real contact information on their websites. This is because they don’t want to be found by the government and they don’t want to be contacted by people they have scammed. If you don’t see a business address listed anywhere or any other type of contact information, the website is probably a scam. However, if you do see contact information, you should verify that it is real by doing a little research on your own, such as calling the phone number or asking a question in an email to see if you get a response.

Legitimate businesses are registered with the Better Business Bureau and list all of their contact information on their website. You should also be able to find out additional information about a business by typing its name into a search engine. If you are turning up very few results, you’re probably dealing with a work at home job scam. Real businesses are not vague about what they do or what they want their employees to do; they don’t hide anything.

Are You Asked to Provide Personal Information?

You should never have to provide your social security number, driver’s license number, bank account information, or any other personal information in order to get a job interview. These are things that only need to be provided after you receive an actual job offer. Always be wary of any website or business that wants personal information up front. Websites that ask for your personal information are typically looking to steal your identity or sale your information to advertisers. Most importantly, never give out your credit card number. There is no reason an employer would ever need this, even after a job offer.

Do You Have to Pay Registration Fees or Buy a Membership?

There is no reason why you should have to pay money to work for a business; they should pay you. This one seems like a no brainer, but if you have to pay any money up front, you’re most likely dealing with a scam. For instance, I’ve seen a scam where you have to purchase software in order to do the job. No legitimate business would make you do this. The only exception is if you have to buy standard office equipment, such as a headset, cellphone, computer, or printer to do your job. Legitimate work at home jobs require no money out of pocket and will not ask you to pay registration fees or buy a membership, either.

When looking for work at home job opportunities, remember the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Don’t be allured by the promise that you’ll make a fortune, especially if you’re required to do very little for it. Working at home can be a reality, but you’ll have to avoid all the scams to get there.

Have you ever fallen for a work at home job scam? Help others avoid the same mistake by sharing your experience in the comments below.

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