When it comes to finding that plum work-at-home job, here’s a key ratio to consider: 50-to-1. That’s roughly the ratio between scam work-at-home jobs and actual jobs that will provide Americans with income and the type of flexibility that many need, said Sara Sutton Fell, the founder and CEO of FlexJobs, a service that links workers with telecommuting or flexible jobs.
“People want work flexibility,” she said. “They want work-at-home arrangements for a lot of reasons. It could be financial, such as they can’t find a job in their town, or they have a military spouse and move a lot.” With the economy still in recovery mode, many Americans remain underemployed or unemployed, which has upped the ranks of people looking to make money from working at home. Millennials are more likely to be victims of job scams than seniors, according to a FlexJobs survey, which may be due to the scarcity of good-paying jobs for younger Americans and the group’s slightly higher unemployment rate.
Fell stresses that honest work-at-home jobs do exist that can help workers achieve their goals, whether that’s working some extra hours or reentering the workforce while a worker’s children are still young. Many of the plum jobs involve specialized skills, such as those in the info-tech industry or in editorial services. So, how do you tell if a job is legit? Job seekers should be on the lookout for several red flags, such as asking the worker to pay for something upfront — a computer, a startup fee or materials, for instance.
“Jobs that don’t require skills but yet say you’ll make a lot of money” are one red flag, Fell said. Scammers also pretend to be a legit, brand-name company but are only looking for consumers’ personal information, such their Social Security number. Other work-at-home jobs may be legitimate, but they might not provide the level of pay workers are hoping for.