Dear Consumer Ed:

My unemployment insurance is about to run out.  I keep seeing these on-line job offers where you can make a lot of money working from home.  They ask you to pay a fee for training and certification.  How can I make sure I am not wasting my time and money?

Consumer Ed says:

You’re wise to be wary of these offers. Many of the work-from-home jobs advertised are scams.  First off, do not send money! Legitimate employers won’t ask you to pay them for the promise of a job, and it’s against the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for employers to charge employees for training.  If you are interested in working from home, make sure you research the position very carefully to make sure it’s on the up-and-up:

  • Find out specifically what you will be doing – ask about every step. 
  • How will you be paid?  Will you make a salary or will they provide a commission?
  • Who will pay you and when will you get paid?
  • Be very suspicious of guarantees of wealth, especially when the ads say “no experience required” or “will train”. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Get references and ask those people if they have been pleased with the company.
  • See if the Better Business Bureau has received complaints about the company, but be aware that a lack of complaints doesn’t guarantee that a company is legitimate. You may also want to do an Internet search for the company name with the word complaints.

While some work-at-home jobs are legitimate, you’re probably better off networking with business acquaintances and friends and exploring traditional job listings in newspapers and reputable online employment sites.

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