Most of what I do on One More Cup of Coffee is review products that are supposed to make you money online, and I do not want to turn my website into a “scam finder”. However, the amount of work from home scams found on Craigslist cannot be ignored. I've never been a big user of Craigslist for anything, but after my recent move, I've been looking for cheap furniture on the site, and took a quick look at the jobs listings.
I was pretty shocked to see the number of scams that were listed. These may not be obvious to someone unfamiliar with MLM, network marketing, or working online. This is why I'd like to take a look at a few I found, and identify some red flags you can look for, and save yourself some time and hassle dealing with these people/companies.
7 Craigslist Work From Home Red Flags
Red Flag #1: Type of Position
You'll commonly see words like “Recruitment Agent”, “Regional Manager”, Sales Representative”, and “Management Positions”.
What's the common thread?
All of these positions are vague, but still give the sense of leaderships. Though there are real jobs that actually have these titles, combined with some of the other warning signs below, you'll see the trend. They want a manager but you don't need any experience?
Other things to watch out for are buzz words like “performance based”, “compensation plan”, “cash bonuses”.
Red Flag #2: Work Your Own Schedule
It sounds great. And it's really possible! But this is rarely the way you start a job. When someone comes out and says, “Work whenever you want”, it means that you are not needed. This means you'll be working for commissions, and they already have tons of other people. It means you'll likely not have any kind of real (useful) training.
What this says to me is that they are going to have you posting ads online. Getting paid commissions to post links, spamming Facebook, or even turning around and posting more ads on Craigslist, is not a legitimate way to make money, and will not provide you with long term income.
Red Flag #3: Recruiting
Any ad that implies that you will be recruiting people should be approached with caution, or avoided altogether.
Recruiting likely means that you'll be joining a network marketing company. If you are not familiar with these types of companies, they are very similar to Pyramid schemes. It's something like Amway or Herbalife, but online. They typically sell video training or other low-quality products along with the “amazing opportunity” to be part of their club.
Red Flag #4: What Skills Are Needed
Some of the skills listed as “required” to work for their company are pretty much a joke. If they are not specific to a type of work, ie mechanic, secretarial, computer skills, etc, it's likely that anyone can do this job. If anyone can do it, it won't pay well, and again, as in the above examples, is probably commission based.
Here are some examples:
- A positive attitude
- Enjoys meeting new people
- Ability to learn
- Communication skills
As you can see here, this could potentially describe anyone on a good day. Ads are written like this to hook you in and make you think you can do this job. Then they turn around and say that you are “starting your own business”, when they are actually just turning you into a sales rep for their scam company.
Red Flag #5: Financial Freedom
Any ad that implies that you will be able to make 6 figures, or obtain financial freedom by joining their company is definitely something to be avoided. No legitimate business will try to convince you that they will pay you so much money that you'll never have to work again, or that it will make your life easier.
If they have to use phrases to entice you to call them, then there is likely little competition for this type of position. Little competition probably means it's not a job you really want.
Red Flag #6 Great Company, No Name
Lots of network marketing scams do this. They talk about how they are *somehow* related to a Fortune 500 company, and are listed as one of the fasted growing companies in the US. They tout claims that they have grown some unrealistic amount within the last year and plan to be an “industry leader” in the near future.
But wait, they don't even tell you the name of the business! It's a secret?!
If someone claims something like this, LOOK THEM UP. If there's no name, it's a scam. If there is a name and you Google them, but cannot find them, it's a scam. Legitimate companies do not hide, and make a HUGE effort to get themselves found on the internet. You shouldn't have to dig past page ONE of search results to find them.
Red Flag #7: You have to pay to make money
This is the most obvious one and the easiest to identify. You should never have to pay to work. I know it sounds silly, but once you get sucked into the jibber-jabber of trained salesman trying sell you something so he can get a commission, it can be hard to think straight.
If anyone asks for ANY money at ANY time, hang up the phone or stop answering their emails.
They always talk about how you have to cleverly word your posts so they don't get taken down by CL mods. Craigslist hates these things, but with so many companies out there, and an army of commission-seeking Regional Sales Manager Recruitment Reps constantly thinking of new ways to trick job-seekers into “joining their team”, it's impossible to get rid of scams.
Honestly, I'd only respond to ads that tell you exactly what it is you'll be doing, where you'll be located, and specifics about what you'll be doing at the job.
A Better Option?
I don't recommend this option for anyone that needs work to pay the rent at the end of the month. But it's possible to do what I do, and work online.
I don't recruit people, I don't sell “opportunities”, and I certainly don't spend my day posting ads on Craigslist.
I build websites and sell products from other companies on those websites. I learned how to do this at a place called Wealthy Affiliate. You can learn it as well. It doesn't produce income right away, which is why I say that it's not for someone that needs work now. But there are thousands of people that are making money this way, and it sure beats working in retail.