What Are the Red Flags for Bogus Remote Jobs?

woman spots a remote job scam
Photo by fizkes / Shutterstock.com

Welcome to our “Work From Home Q&A” series. You ask a question about remote work, and a guest expert answers it.

You can learn how to ask a question of your own below.

This week’s question comes from Robert:

“What are some work-from-home jobs that I can do from my computer? There are so many scams out there, I don’t know which listings are actually legitimate.”

5 red flags

The thing is, the job market for legitimate remote jobs is very similar to the overall job market in terms of the types of jobs you’ll find. Remote jobs are positions like accountant, teacher, customer service representative, sales rep, lawyer, software engineer and other regular jobs. They just happen to be done from home.

The key is, when you’re looking for listings, know what scams typically look like so you can keep yourself safe. There are some telltale signs that indicate a job posting is probably a scam, including:

  1. The job listing sounds too good to be true, with mention of quick money, unlimited earning potential and free work-from-home jobs.
  2. There is a sense of urgency, or the recruiter is pushing you to accept the job now. Any legitimate company won’t push you into accepting a job offer immediately.
  3. The job post or email has obvious grammatical errors or spelling mistakes or has lots of capitalization and punctuation (“!!! WORK FROM HOME $$$”).
  4. You’re offered the job without a recruiter verifying your work experience or asking for references.
  5. The job description is unusually vague or spends too much time discussing how easy the job is or how much money you’ll make.

On the other hand, a real remote job will require you to apply just like you would with any other job. You may need to submit a resume and cover letter, take a test or submit samples of your work. You’ll likely be invited to interview, often with multiple interviews, before being offered the job.

If you think you’ve come across a scam, a quick internet search may tell you more: Do a search for the word “scam” and the job title or company’s name. The results might include local news stories, Better Business Bureau complaints and even FBI warnings.

When in doubt, walk away — if you feel like a job may be a scam, it’s not worth finding out the hard way.

About me

I am a career development manager and coach at FlexJobs, where I help people find flexible work, including remote, part-time and freelance jobs. Before joining FlexJobs in 2010, I was a career adviser for college students and alumni. I have a master of science in human resources management and am a certified advanced resume writer.

Got a question you’d like answered?

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You also can find all past answers from this series on the “Work From Home Q&A” webpage.

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