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How To Spot a Scam Job Offering on Craigslist


Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerAs a stay-at-home-mom, I seek opportunities to work from home. I need to be there if one of my midgets is home sick, or for holidays, and for school breaks. Boy was I happy the other day when I found an opportunity on Craigslist that looked promising. This venue has offered little success in the past but you never know. I went in with wide-open eyes ready to find any issue that would tell me this job was a scam. Here’s the breakdown of red flags:

Salary – The first clue a work-at-home-job is too good to be true is the job is for an exorbitant amount of pay. This job offered $600 bi-weekly for twenty hours of work. This was not a red flag, in fact, this gave me hope. The pay broke down to $15 an hour, which is reasonable for a virtual assistant. Be wary of a job offering hundreds or thousands for little to no work or experience.


Investing – Even better than a reasonable salary offer, the potential employer did not ask me to “invest” my money. If a job suggests you fronting money to make money working for them,  walk away. If you want to invest money than try MLM, such as Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, or some other such venue. Otherwise, save your money and invest in your own opportunities, not someone else asking you to front the money so they can make cash. 


Send Money – The opportunity I found did not have the shaky habit of sending money to potential employees. Who wouldn’t want free money? How could this be bad? You know why. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Why would they send you money before you have done any work for them? Better accept these offers are illegal and they are asking you to do illegal tasks with stolen money. Walk away. 


No Interview or Strange Interview – This was the first clue that this job was not real but a potential scam to steal my identity or money. The lady I was corresponding with wanted to communicate via Google Hangouts. She never interviewed me or asked me what skills I had. If she had not asked for my resume, this would have been more of a red flag. Either way, I was cautious at this point. Expect an interview. Expect to communicate via email, phone, and/or video chat where you can see each other face-to-face. Be wary of anything else. 

Personal information – The lady did not ask me for any personal information at first. But she asked me to open a bank account. As a virtual assistant, I would have been paying bills, buying items, etc for my employee, so opening an account made sense. This became a red flag when she asked me for not just the account and routing number but my login information and security questions. Nope. Not happening, Mrs. Scammer. (On a side note, I had a backup plan for the account because I had a feeling this job was not real at this point. But my husband and I do need a local bank.) Also be wary if the potential employer asks for personal information such as your social security number, PayPal information (beyond the basics to send money to you), or other private detail no one has a right to know. 


Presentation – Another red flag came in the form of grammatical errors. Grammar is too important to ignore. A legitimate employer should have a full grasp of the English language and expect the same from you. I purposely put grammar mistakes in once I thought this might be a scam and it was not a deal breaker for the potential employer. Her multiple mistakes were a deal breaker for me. 


Online Presence – Following proper due diligence, I wanted some form of concrete information from this lady. Google to the rescue. I could not find her online. The company she claimed to work for out of NJ did not have a branch in NJ nor could I find this person on the company staff page. Here was her response when I asked why I could not find her online and that I needed concrete proof of who she was, “Oh okay I understand the need for you to be comfortable in order to give me those information but the problem is I have been doing this work for so long and whenever someone has reservations this is what I tell them After I do what you want right them what else the next there is a problem you will require more from me time from me and basically I dont have that much time” (I left all of her grammatical errors in for your benefit). 


Not enough Information – Another red flag was insufficient job details. Here is what she told me, “Sure you will have to keep records , when needed make inspection , run errands , send out documents pick up stuffs , mail documents ,pay bills  and make payment” (again note the many grammatical errors). Job descriptions should be detailed. On the surface this seemed detailed but how is a virtual assistant supposed to run errands for an employee hundreds of miles away?  


No Experience Necessary – This one did not apply to the job I was applying for, but many scam jobs say no experience necessary. Be wary of these offers. In a perfect world we could get a great paying job with no credentials and prove ourselves once we are in the job, but that’s not legitimate. 

Mom’s, let’s be careful. If the job offer seems too good to be true, then chances are it is too good to be true. As for me, I am off to find a legit work-from-home job. Good luck and be careful. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Adrina Palmer is a stay-at-home-mom to three wonderful children and a wife to an amazing husband. She has a bachelors degree in Religion from Liberty University and is currently writing her first novel. Adrina is a Christian hoping to help other stay-at-home moms find the joy and simplicity as a mother and wife. In her free time she enjoys many crafts, writing, spending time with family, and reading. She would love to hear from you!

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