BBB on Homes Do research regarding work-at-home offers

March 10, 2019

Despite exciting promises, some work-at-home offers are notorious for leaving potential workers high and dry.

They promise large sums of money for various enterprises. Many of these offers even claim that you can earn a sustainable regular income, often exceeding the salaries of average full-time workers.

With increasing popularity, the Internet has made it much easier for scammers advertising fake work-at-home offers to get their message across.

It is easy for anyone to make their own professional website in a matter of days while claiming to be a legitimate company.

These sites are usually put up long enough to lure unsuspecting consumers and then vanish once they rip people off.

The Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas offers the following general tips to keep in mind if you are considering a work-at-home offer:

Check out the company. Learn how long it has been in business and if it has received any complaints. Research the business by checking with the Better Business Bureau at BBBHouston.org. Also, check with local consumer protection agencies and the secretary of state in the state where the company is headquartered.

Get all claims in writing. Legitimate job opportunities require a contract, in writing, outlining what’s involved in the work you are providing or the program they are selling to you. Here are some questions you might ask a potential work-at-home employer: What tasks will I have to perform? (The employer should give you a step-by-step training about the process). Will I be paid a salary or will my pay be based on commission? Who will pay me? When will I get my first paycheck? What is the total cost of the work-at-home program, including supplies, equipment and membership fees? What will I get for my money?

Be skeptical of past success stories. Ask the promoter to give you the names of previous work-at-home employees, so you can pick and choose whom to call. When speaking to references, ask them for the names of their clients and details of their operations. You may also consider meeting references in person. Again, at any sign of hesitation on the part of the promoter or references, walk away.

Avoid paying up-front fees. Legitimate employers do not require fees or investments as a condition of employment. Most work-at-home schemes do. Do not pay any fees or investments as a condition of employment. If you are asked to do so, you are probably being scammed. Be careful if a company promises you great opportunities or big income as long as you pay for coaching, training, certifications or directories.

Different procedures should raise your suspicion. Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. You may be an excellent candidate for the job, but beware of offers made without an interview. Don’t fall for an overpayment scam.

No legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask for money to be wired elsewhere. This is a common trick used by scammers.

The Better Business Bureau is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Visit www.bbbhouston.org or call 713-868-9500.

Leah Napoliello is senior director of Investigative Services with the BBB of Greater Houston and South Texas. Send questions to Leah Napoliello, Better Business Bureau, 1333 West Loop South, Suite 1200, Houston, TX 77027, or e-mail lnapoliello@bbbhou.org. Include your mailing address and phone number.