If you’re unaware of the warning signs, getting trapped in an online job scam can be easy, unfortunate, and a major buzzkill.
After investing precious time into your skills and resume, the last thing you want to worry about is landing an illegitimate job. At Virtual Assistant Internship, we empathize. In fact, many of our students in the 90 Day VA program have run into similar situations. It sucks!
Besides being a major blow to your confidence, weeding through the online scam jungle delays our primary goal: landing those dream jobs that allow us to work remotely!
Fortunately, avoiding these traps is totally doable if you know what to look out for. Soon, you will be a scam-slaying pro on the journey to living the dream!
Here Are 4 Ways to Spot an Online Job Scam:
#1: Being Hired Without an Interview
Too good to be true? It usually is. A job offer without an interview should sound your alarm bells. It’s not a fire, hunny, but stop, drop, and roll the heck out of there.
Sometimes it’s easy to imagine remote work as a whole different world from the typical 9-5. Therefore, you may assume that many of the same rules do not apply. While we may get to reap some unconventional benefits (like a pantless work day), real online jobs are no joke!
You are a professional looking for professional work. In the real world, would
any professional company hire you without interviewing you first? No! After all, how can they know how awesome you are without getting to know you?!
- Note: It is advisable to wear pants WHEN YOU DO get interviewed, just in case ; )
#2: Interview Via Chat
The next red flag for online job scams can be a trickier one. Maybe you are contacted for an interview, but the mode in which they want to conduct the interview can quickly determine if it’s legit. Plain and simple: If you’re offered an interview via chat or a special chat app, it is most likely an online job scam.
Most legit businesses will conduct interviews through Zoom, which has become the go-to in regards to business communication. Chat apps have their place in the world, but it’s not for online job interviews. Therefore, it’s best to leave it for casual conversations with your family and friends.
#3: Paying Money for a Job (or not getting money for a job)
As a long term contractor, you’ll typically be responsible for buying your own equipment (laptop, software, etc). However, you should never be asked to buy a particular software if yours gets the job done just fine. This is usually a scam. Many companies will try to get you to buy that particular software only to expect you to start selling it too! Lame!
In addition, be wary if a company expects you to pay for special training to do your job. When you think about non-remote jobs, companies don’t expect their employees to pay up to learn the job. For example, would a retail worker have to pay for her customer service or cashier training? No!
Legit companies will give you the training and tools they use for free. Even if they promise to send you a reimbursement check, girl bye. It’s probably an online job scam.
Lastly, if you’re going to be doing a ton of work for a company, expect or demand to be paid at least a portion upfront. This is especially important if you’ve never worked with them before.
What if they’re in another country? What if they don’t intend on paying you at all? Save yourself the headache and don’t fall into this trap.
#4: Getting Asked For Personal Information
If you’re asked to send personal information before a job offer, don’t fall for it. In these circumstances, these “employers” may ask you to fill out a W2 or send them your bank information all before even getting asked to interview.
It should be noted that it is common to give your bank information to legit companies you’ve interviewed with in order to get paid, but definitely not before an interview. Similarly, anytime someone requests you transfer them money with a promise that they’ll transfer it back = avoid.
Would any employer do this for a traditional, non-remote job? No. Or at least not one worth trusting in! If this ever happens, virtually run to the internet hills of another job post because, you guessed it… SCAM!
Not Necessarily Scams, But Jobs You May Want to Avoid:
- Direct Sales/Multi Level Marketing (MLM’S): These are the people you see on Facebook trying to sell candles, soaps, weight loss pills, anti aging miracles, shakes, etc. This is not a job. This is a business and these companies/people want you to join their team and help sell the product(s).
If you want to do this, to each their own. Just remember, you will not be getting paid hourly or on a salary and will be expected to fork up a percentage of your earnings.
- Surveys and mystery shopping: A lot ARE scams, some are not. BUT considering how much time you invest vs. what you’re paid, it’s probably not worth it. So for the ones that aren’t scammy, maybe we’ll just call them scummy…
Let’s Wrap It Up:
- Don’t accept a job offer without an interview
- If you are offered an interview, make sure it’s not through Google Hangouts
- Don’t pay money for a job when you don’t have to (and ensure you get paid upfront for big projects)
- Don’t accept a job that wants you to send personal info before an interview or offer
- You may want to avoid MLM’s, surveys, and mystery shopping
The best quality, scam free online jobs will most ALWAYS come from programs or groups you can join (like 90 Day VA)!
90 Day VA is a comprehensive skills training program that teaches you the necessary skills, mindsets, and best practices for breaking into the world of online work as a virtual assistant. Unsure of what a virtual assistant is? Check out The Complete Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant in 2020.
Some HUGE PERKS of the 90 Day VA program:
- It provides monthly access to legitimate jobs that are 100% scam free
- Build a portfolio WHILE learning. This portfolio is SO HELPFUL and key in finding a good, legitimate online job without selling anything.
- Furthermore, 90 Day VA encourages networking through the program’s included Facebook Group, VAI Members Club in which members have access to at least 6 full months past enrollment date (or longer if they choose)!
If you’re still skeptical, already jaded by online job scams, or want feedback from real students, hop over to the Student Testimonials page of this blog. ALSO, be sure to check out my FREE informational class HERE.
In 90 Day VA, Esther teaches her students how to research and repurpose current content into blogs for the VAI website. Kaylee is the student we’ve chosen this week to feature what she’s learned in the course. Get to know her:
Kaylee Roettger is a virtual assistant who assists businesses and individuals with their projects, websites, and social media presence. When she’s not helping others write blogs and re-purpose content, she loves to spend time outdoors with her friends and indoors with her ridiculously entertaining cats. She’s a member of 90 Day VA and is so excited about learning and growing as a virtual assistant.