Finding a new job or changing careers can be difficult. Many are turning to the internet to recruit agents, post jobs, or search social media. Scammers are also waiting to pounce on job seekers to make things even trickier.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently warned that criminals are using popular messaging platforms to lure victims with false promises. Unfortunately, no real jobs are offered and the criminals get away with valuable personal information.
Secondary scams are becoming more problematic than ever. Read on to learn how to find side gigs and earn extra cash safely.
Here is the backstory
There are many dangers when looking for a side hustle online. Even on popular job sites, you are at risk of being scammed. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out there and apply.
You should apply for as many positions as possible to increase your chances. But you should be aware of the risks.
As the BBB points out in a blog post, there are several things you need to do to avoid falling victim to a side hustle. It starts with finding someone who offers you a job or a company you want to apply for.
If you register with a work-for-hire website like Upwork, never agree to move communications or projects off the site. Many scammers use these websites as bait, but commit crimes where administrators cannot catch them.
How to avoid secondary scams
BBB gave some tips on how to avoid getting ripped off when looking for a side hustle. Here are some suggestions:
- Filter potential customers. If you are approached by an individual rather than a company to do freelance work, such as photography or pet sitting, get to know them before agreeing to do any work. Ask lots of questions, research their social media accounts, and lobby for a meeting via video chat. Most scammers will avoid meeting with you and won’t answer specific questions.
- Keep the job on freelance job boards where it belongs. A common scam on freelance job boards involves circumvention. In this scam, a supposed employer first approaches you on the website. Then they ask you to work and accept payment outside the site. These scammers may try to convince you to accept payment via PayPal or another external payment method, claiming that they want to help you avoid fees charged by the freelancer’s website. Chances are that once you turn in your work, you won’t receive any payment and your client will be gone for good.
- Beware of too-good-to-be-true job offers. Any job that offers excellent pay rates for easy work that requires no special skills is likely a scam. Car wrapping scams are a perfect example of this tactic.
- Research side gigs before applying. No matter how good a job, do your research before applying. Go directly to the company’s website to check the job posting. Does the company have a professional website and legitimate contact details? Also do an online search for the job title and company name. Do not contact the company if you see the same message appearing in multiple cities or if people are reporting that the job is a scam.
- Watch out for work-from-home scams. Work from home jobs are more likely to be scams than traditional job postings. A 2020 BBB report found an increase in work-from-home scams since the COVID-19 pandemic. Be very careful when applying for jobs like “warehouse redistribution coordinator” that involve reshipping (often stolen) packages. The scammers impersonate well-known retailers like Amazon and Walmart and post the job vacancies on major job platforms.
- Beware of fake checks. Many scammers offer to hire you for a job, only to tell you that they’ll send you a check for the supplies you need before you start work. Typically, scammers “overpay” and ask you to send some of the funds back via wire transfer or prepaid gift cards. After sending the money, you will receive a notification from your bank that the check you deposited was a fake. You will have lost all the money you “returned” to the scammer.
- Never pay to work. You should never have to pay a fee to apply for a job or get a position. Also, a legitimate company won’t pay you anything before doing any work.
- Get all the details in writing. Draft a basic contract detailing the services provided, the schedule and the amount paid. Scammers tend to avoid providing specific information, so this is a good way to discourage them. It will also help you avoid disagreements with legitimate employers.
- Protect your personal information. Be wary of any job that asks you to share personal information upfront. If a company insists they need a copy of your driver’s license or bank account information, make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate company before passing on this sensitive information.
Depending on your age, you may be looking for a specific, secure job. For example, if you’re a senior who can’t wait tables or deliver fast food, there are options.
We have already touched on secondary agitations for seniors. We’ve compiled an easy-to-use list of the 15 highest paying side jobs for seniors.
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