Many people dream of working from the comfort of their home. The relaxed and familiar setting, no commuting and working in your “comfortable clothes” are all very appealing to a lot of people. Some companies offer their employees the ability to telecommute to work but that option is not available at most jobs. The desire for the coveted work from home position has led to many online scammers trying to trick job seekers into giving them money with the belief they will be paying for the opportunity to work from home. There are many scams out there and only a few legitimate opportunities. I am going to give you some tools to help identify the frauds and be able to recognize the real work from home positions.
The first and most obvious way to identify a scam is if they are requiring you to pay for a computer or software that must be exclusively bought from them. You will hear from some people that if you are required to pay anything at all it is a scam, and this is just not always the case. Most work will require a computer and to limit costs and the risk of losing property many companies will make the possession of a computer that meets their specifications a requirement. The key to pay attention to is that it is not required to be purchased from them. You will also be required to have your own internet connection and phone as well as miscellaneous office supplies with all but a small few positions.
The next thing to watch out for is pay that sounds too good to be true. You will see advertisements for data entry positions paying $25 plus per hour. This is most likely a scam. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median hourly wage for a data entry clerk was $14.87 as of May 2017. It is very unlikely that you will be paid significantly more than your onsite counterparts. There are certain types of jobs that are commonly performed by people working from home and they are inbound customer service, inbound sales, inbound tech support and inbound billing support. These positions typically pay between $9.00 to $18.00 per hour on average.
Finally, we come to training and fees. Your typical company trains its employees and does not charge any fees. The key thing here is the word employees. When you are an employee there are certain benefits, rights and expectations. Benefits include medical, dental, 401k, paid training, paid time off, etc. Rights fall under Federal Regulations set forth by the Department of Labor and state and local laws. The issuance of a W2 and tax withholding also fall under this. Expectations vary from employer to employer but typically involve specific hours, break times and availability to name a few. If you are going to be hired by a company to be an employee, these are the things that are typically expected. There are also contract positions where you are not an employee but rather a self-employed contractor known as a 1099 Contractor. These job postings are legitimate and not scams. They are often through 3rd parties who have contracts with several different companies to provide them with qualified individuals to fill vacant roles within their company. With these positions there typically are no benefits provided by the contracting company. You will not receive a W2 but rather a 1099 at the end of the year to report your earnings. This may not seem appealing to many looking for employment, but it does certainly have its set of benefits. You typically will not receive paid training, but any cost related to training you have paid is a tax deduction at the end of the year. Equipment supplies and services such as internet and phone you pay to perform your duties as a contractor are also tax deductible at the end of the year. You also set your own work hours without the limitation of being confined to a 40-hour work week and do not have a supervisor because you are your own boss.