Evaluating a Web Site and Work from Home Job Opprortunities
There are more work from home job scams than there are real work from job listings, so, job seekers need to be really careful when searching for and evaluating work at home job listings. Presume that the position is a scam, unless there is compelling evidence to the contrary. Take the time to research the position, the company including talking to other people who work there. That way, you want scammed and you will be using your best efforts and best judgment to find a legitimate work from home job.
Step One: Evaluate the Web Page
The first thing you should do is evaluate the web site. The overall look and feel of the page will tell you a lot about the company and the effort they are spending into recruiting clients.
- Are there a lot of misspelled words and grammar errors? This is a sign of one of two things. Either the web site did not put in a lot of effort or the web page was done by someone out of the United States. Either of these things should be warning signs of potential fraudulent sites.
- Does it use free web hosting services (such as Tripod or Geocities) or free web email services (such as Yahoo! Mail or Hotmail)?
Step Two: Look at the basic information.
- Does it tell you what the product is? Or does it use generic words to describe an "opportunity"?
- Does it give you a physical address or a post office box? Some map sites allow you to get a picture of the address, check to see if it's a building or an empty lot.
- Do they give you a telephone number? Call it to see if it's a real phone number.
Step Three: Check it out.
There are several governmental sites that can help you identify legitimate businesses from fraudulent ones.
- The Better Business Bureau: This is probably the most well-known of all the organizations that help to protect you. They offer valuable resources and information on all types of businesses. It can be tricky to find the information in the searches, so do multiple searches until you find it.
- The Federal Trade Commission: Do a search for here and you can get a ton of information. Among the wealth of info you can find out which companies are being or have been investigated and/or taken to court by the FTC.
- National Fraud Information Center: Provides lots of valuable resources about all sorts of scams including: telephone, mail, and online scams.
- Also check with the state Attorney General's office and the consumer protection agency in your area and the area where the promoter is based to learn whether there are any unresolved complaints about the business opportunity or the promoter. While complaints may alert you to problems, the absence of complaints does not necessarily mean the company is legitimate. Unscrupulous companies may settle complaints, change their names or move to hide a history of complaints.
- Finally, do a search on Google and Yahoo! to see if you can find any positive or negative comments. You can also check out Scam.com. This is actually a free public bulletin board that allows people to post their experiences with a variety of different scams.
Step Four: Evaluate the claims.
- Look at the income and earning claims. If a site claims buyers can earn a certain income, then (according to the FTC) it also must give the number and percentage of previous purchasers who achieved the earnings. If an earnings claim is there but the additional information isn't, then the business opportunity seller is probably violating the law.
- If the business opportunity costs $500 or more, then the promoter must back up the earnings claim in a written document. Even if it is not, try and get a document that includes the earnings claim, as well as the number and percentage of recent clients who have earned at least as much as the promoter suggested.
- Interview previous purchasers in person, preferably where their business operates. The FTC requires most business opportunity promoters to give potential purchasers the names, addresses, and phone numbers of at least 10 previous purchasers who live the closest to the potential purchaser. Interviewing them helps reduce the risk of being misled by phony references.
- What is their money back guarantee? Is it clearly stated or is it linked on another page?
- How much fine print is there? Look for the 10 pt font (this size or smaller) and read it carefully. That's where they hide the important stuff.
Okay, think you're ready? Go to my Questions page. Make sure you have answered all those questions before you even consider any site to be legitimate.