Dan Schrotter – Staff IT, Inc. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Regina Lewis, AOL’s consumer advisor, said this morning on CBS’s The Early Show that “working from home is more prolific in America than ever but to be alert for scams, more so than ever before.” Regina is right, as usual. American business is finally beginning to follow the model of Alpine Access, a customer service and support solution provider. This little company realized just how much money could be saved by eliminating the need for an office – with an office you must pay rent, heat/cool it, have insurance for the office and also pay its utility bills. Alpine Access began allowing all of its customer service and administrative staff to telecommute! The hourly wage is probably a bit lower than if you were at a traditional office, but then the morning commute just became walking down the hall from your bedroom to your home office.
Many large companies are starting to see the benefits of operating remotely. Many more work from home opportunities are available to the job seeker – AOL themselves have quite a few of work-from-home opportunities. But the job seeker must be tech-savvy. This is not the time to allow your printer to run dry of ink or to not have a dedicated landline or fax application on your computer. The operative word here is “seamless.” You want to make your experience working from home as similar as possible to working from a traditional office. Success is when someone says, after a length of time working with you, “I had no idea you were working from home!”
NEVER Send Money
A popular scam these days is to send work-from-home hopefuls a check, usually for a normal amount such as $1,000. The scam is when they instruct you to deposit their check, keep what you have earned and remit the remainder back to them, operating much like a draw at a car dealership. You deposit their $1,000 check and write them a check from your own account for the remainder – let’s say $250. Of course, their check bounces like a tennis ball but your check goes through and you lose money. They then move on to the next person. Bottom line: You should never be the first person to spend money. If they are legitimate they will NOT have “membership fees,” a “starting kit” (or at least one you pay for) or anything where you must send them money. Remember who works for whom. This may be a bit crude but you will do well to remember the old adage – if it smells like poo it probably is poo.
- Utilize Google – often companies or entities that behave poorly get poor reviews from prior victims and these can be found online. Type “[name of company] consumer complaints” and see what you can find.
- Utilize the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.com). Not only will you be able to see if the company is legitimate (if they are listed with the BBB) but also what rating they have. If their consumer rating hovers around an “F,” best to rethink working with them.
- If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. I, myself, was nearly tricked by an unscrupulous fellow who said I was to act as a “secret shopper” and that I would be paid by direct deposit… but first I had to give a voided check so they had my bank information and sign a release. Um… no?
Good luck out there, keep your head up and remember, still the best way to fast track your being employed again is to visit a reputable staffing agency. It is always better to have people on your side, working with you to help you achieve success.