Scams vs. Real Work-From-Home Jobs: A Job Seeker’s Story

noscamsthumbnail.jpgIf you want to work from home, you’re going to come across a lot of scams during your search for a telecommuting job. As mentioned here before,  95 out of 100 search results from the phrase “work from home” are scams, which is a scary statistic indeed. Even the F.B.I. has joined the fight against work from home scams, designating “work from home” as one of the top scam phrases to beware of.

Some job seekers are lucky enough to spot the scams and avoid them, but far too many are duped by the ever-more-convincing scams that keep cropping up. Irene L. of North Carolina is one of the many job seekers victimized by job scams, and her story proves that just about anyone can fall victim to the scams. However, Irene’s experience also teaches us that you can find legitimate, professional work from home jobs amid all the scams if you know where to look. Thankfully, Irene agreed to share her story to educate fellow job seekers, help people avoid scams, and find real telecommuting jobs. As Irene said, “In this job market, people need all the good stories they can hear!”

One Job Seeker’s Scam Survival Story

In 2012, Irene marked her 15th year of telecommuting in various customer service, sales, and problem resolution jobs and was looking for her next work-from-home job. But even a telecommuting veteran can be tricked into a work-from-home scam. So, how did Irene fall victim? Here’s her story, in her own words.

“A while back I had been ‘hired’ by a small company in Florida that had contacted me through my LinkedIn profile. To make a long story short, I worked for them for three weeks, they never paid me a dime and I was VERY discouraged.” Irene said that for her three weeks of work, she was owed $1,000.

Even when using a reputable professional networking site like LinkedIn, job seekers need to be aware of potential scams. Irene told us, “The sales manager contacted me through my LinkedIn profile and the owner interviewed and hired me. It was all outbound calling. I worked for them for three weeks and two days, and out of the blue got a phone call they decided to ‘go in a different direction’ and said they would send my paycheck. It never arrived.”

Job Scams and Independent Contractors

One of the important parts of Irene’s story is that she was hired by this scam company as an independent contractor, often called a “1099” after the tax forms that self-employed professionals must fill out.

“I found out the hard way that a 1099 has no rights whatsoever as an employee – no matter what you got in writing! The Department of Labor, the Florida Attorney General’s Office, and every organization I contacted said they couldn’t help me, that all I could do was sue them in court. The reality is that, to sue, it would cost the average person more than the company owes them, so they will continue to pull this scam on many more people that are desperate for a work from home job,” said Irene.

While contractors do have very different rights than at-will employees, and in many cases inadequate rights when it comes to getting a client to pay up, they do have some rights. For example, independent contractors have the right not to be told where and when to work, what tools to use, who they can hire, where they can buy supplies and services, who has to do what work, and what order tasks have to be accomplished.

If you are considering independent contractor jobs (aka – freelance jobs, self-employment, 1099s), be aware that you are responsible for protecting your rights as a professional. Because you are not considered an at-will employee, you will not have the same rights that employees traditionally have. Here are some tips on  What to Do if You Don’t Get Paid  as a freelancer.

How can job seekers who want to work from home protect themselves from job scams?

  • Do Your Research:  Always search for a company’s name along with keywords like scam, bad, ripoff, and other negative words to see if others have reported the company as being a scam. Check with the Better Business Bureau and  to see how they are rated.
  • Use the Right Keywords:  Phrases like “work from home” and “work at home” are commonly associated with scams. Instead, use words like telecommute, telecommuting, and remote work to find more real, scam-free job listings.
  • Be Wary of Instant Job Offers:  Be skeptical of out-of-the-blue job offers you receive on LinkedIn or other job search websites. Most employers will not offer you a job right off the bat if they contact you through job search websites or LinkedIn. Instead, they’ll request a job interview.
  • Don’t Accept Offers Quickly:  Scammers will usually pressure you to accept their job immediately and give you little or no time to think it over. They don’t want you to be in a rational state of mind when making your decision, and they don’t want you to have time to research their offer. Take your time and be clear about exactly what you are accepting before you do so.
  • Protect Yourself as a Freelancer:  Use Reputable Sources to Find Jobs:  After being scammed, Irene decided to sign up for  FlexJobs, the only telecommuting job search site  recommended by Undress4Success.

Irene signed up for FlexJobs after being scammed because she was looking for a safe place to find legitimate work from home jobs. FlexJobs lists only pre-screened, verified, and legitimate telecommuting jobs and other jobs that offer flexibility (flexible schedule jobs, freelance jobs, and part-time jobs).

Of her experience job searching through FlexJobs, Irene said, “FlexJobs really does work. I decided to pay for a subscription to FlexJobs and within four days I found a posting. I submitted my resume, took their online assessment tests, and they hired me. I had two weeks of training and after six weeks I can say this is looking like the best work from home job I have ever had. That’s saying a lot as I have worked from my home office for 15 years.”

Hopefully, Irene’s experience can teach fellow job seekers to be alert when it comes to work from home jobs, learn to spot scams, and avoid frustrating situations. There are definitely real telecommuting jobs out there if you know how and where to look.

Guest post by Brie Weiler Reynolds, Director of Content and Social Media at  FlexJobs  and a former career advisor.

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10 Surprising Work-From-Home Jobs

When people think of work from home jobs, several “typical” job types come to mind: customer service, information technology, and blogging just to name a few. But over the last decade,  telecommuting jobs  have grown 41%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and the variety of jobs that can be done from home is quite surprising.

Here are ten real work from home jobs that you may not have thought about before. And if you don’t see a job that sparks your interest on this list, keep in mind that if your work is mainly done using computers, phones, or other means of remote communication, it can probably be done from home too.

Registered Nurse Clinical Case Manager  – Nursing jobs are a growing telecommuting option and in this role, the job seeker would be responsible for assessing the health of insurance program members and providing care planning activities and services.

High School Teacher  – Virtual high schools, both public and alternative, have grown leaps and bounds over the last few years. Certified teachers in subjects like English, Spanish, Science, Sociology, Special Education, and even Physical Education are needed to fill a large number of rolls.

Principal Scientist  – No longer are scientists confined to laboratories. With advancements in technology, scientists can now find work from home jobs where they’ll analyze clinical data, design components, train staff, review documentation and attend client meetings.

Independent Filmmaker  – Content websites are increasingly turning to short videos to capture readers’ attention. Experienced independent filmmakers can find flexible schedule positions working remotely producing short films on a variety of topics.

Legal Advocacy Counsel  – Depending on one’s specialized legal area of expertise, lawyers can find telecommuting jobs where they’ll provide legal research, writing, and consultations for organizations and companies, all from the comfort of a home office.

Medical Director  – For those with medical or veterinary doctorate degrees, organizations are hiring telecommuting medical directors. These roles entail managing direct reports in the field, producing reports, and providing training.

Government Manager  - Federal government departments and agencies have been increasing their telecommuting opportunities over the last two years. Professionals interested in working for the U.S. government can find jobs in the Federal Highway Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others. Job titles include Senior Counsel, Program Manager, Analyst, Transportation Specialist, and Director.

Translation and Subtitler  - If you have the ability to speak and write in multiple languages, plenty of telecommuting jobs exist for you. Film and video companies need people to translate foreign language films into English and to write subtitles, as do publishers and websites. Fluency is required for this work from home job.

Personal Historian  - The popularity of family history research has grown into its own industry. For people who love speaking with people, doing historical research, and recording personal stories, telecommuting personal historian jobs are an excellent choice.

Therapist  – Licensed clinical social workers and psychologists can find work-from-home jobs counseling clients. Rather than a traditional office setting, telecommuting therapists use video chat and phone to communicate with and assist clients.

If you’ve been interested in working from home but aren’t sure if your career field translates into a telecommuting role, you’re in luck. As technology advances and employers continue to discover the perks of hiring telecommuting employees, more and more career fields will become telecommute-eligible.

Brie Weiler Reynolds wrote this guest post. She’s the Content and Social Media Director at  FlexJobs, the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible job listings, and a former career advisor. At FlexJobs, Brie offers job seekers career and work-life balance advice through the  FlexJobs Blog  and social media.

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Now Moms Can Find Pro Jobs

FlexJobs: The leading site for legitimate telecommuting job listingsFlexJobs is  the online job board, in our book, for people looking for jobs with flexible work options including work-at-home, telecommuting, part-time, and alternative schedules.

Put them together and what do you get? The perfect way for moms with careers to find advice, support, information, and jobs that will enhance work-family fit.

Many women want to maintain a career after they’ve had a baby, but they want to spend more time with their family. FlexJobs can make that happen.



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New ViaSat Service Lets You Work Anywhere

My brother-in-law lives in New Jersey, so far from civilization the UPS driver asked if he was in a witness protection program. In fact, he’s so far out in the sticks he’s lucky to have electricity, nevermind broadband service.

If you live out in the boondocks you’ve probably looked into satellite Internet service, as he did. But what you (and he) found was expensive and slow, right?

Not anymore. ViaSat’s new Excede satellite broadband services will do just that–exceed your expectations. Now you can work online from almost anywhere.

You can get fast 12Mbs download service for as low as $50 a month.  That gets you 7.5  Gb of download volume a month, or about 40,000 emails without attachments, 6000 emails with attachments, 16000 web pages, or 800 minutes of streaming video. More or less.  And you can also have all-you-can-eat downloads from midnight to 5am that won’t count as part of your data usage.

Forty thousand emails not enough? You can have twice that (15Gb) for $80/mo or 25Gb for $130/mo–and you still get the free data usage from midnight to 5am.

Incidentally, if you need high speed Internet access in your business jet or if you own an airliner Excede In-flight can help you out too. They have the first service that guarantees 12Mbs to every seat. JetBlue is already offering it.

And get this, the ViaSat-1 satellite has more capacity than all other communications satellites combined. So if you need high speed data on a ship or yacht, a TV news van, or a fire truck they’ve got you covered. Literally.

I’ve got a new tag line for them: Think Of The Possibilities

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Top Industries and Careers for Work At Home Jobs

Substantial growth in telecommuting jobs over the last five years means that work from home jobs almost definitely exist in your career field.

Most people, when they hear about working from home, like the idea but aren’t sure how it could actually work for them. There are so many questions – are work from home jobs available in my career field? How do I find out what telecommuting jobs are available?

To figure out what jobs exist and how you can transition your career into telecommuting, let’s take a look at the top five industries for telecommuting jobs. The  Flexible Jobs Index (FJI)  is a monthly report that details the state of the flexible job market, including telecommuting and work at home jobs.

According to the September 2012 FJI just released, the following five fields have the most openings for flexible jobs.  To give you an idea of what’s available , we’ve taken a look at some of the most common telecommuting jobs listed within each category. You can learn more about each job by just clicking its link–but there are lots more  at  FlexJobs  if these aren’t what you’re looking for.

Medical & Health

  • Medicare Sales Representative: Duties include making presentations, building book of business, working at health fairs and developing broker relationships.
  • Utilization Management Nurse: Licensed RN with managed care experience will review proposed medical services and plans of care and determine if medically necessary and appropriate.
  • Health Education Specialist, Senior: Provide consultation services for wellness programs and oversee program development and planning.

Customer Service

  • Customer Service Associate: The Customer Service Associate will work for healthcare organization conducting customer service activities on a full time schedule.
  • Travel Counselor: Coordinate business travel arrangements for corporate clients. Provide counseling to clients on efficient and cost effective routes, fares/exchange rates and visa/passport requirements.
  • Tech Support Technician I: Duties include troubleshooting/resolving customer issues and providing product/service information.


  • Administrative Assistant: Manage bookkeeping, make deposits, reconcile charges, take meeting minutes, manage emails & voicemails, track contributions, and other duties.
  • Scheduler: The PRN Scheduler will perform scheduling activities for patient tests, admissions, and authorizations while providing excellent customer services
  • Executive Assistant: Educational nonprofit seeking an individual to perform administrative duties/support & provide personal assistant support to the Executive Director.

Education & Training

  • Curriculum Developers: Part-time Curriculum Developers are needed to analyze discipline needs, gather data, develop curriculum outlines, and propose design tools for the discipline.
  • Science Teacher: Teach basic science related courses to students in grades 9-12.
  • Early Childhood Development Instructor: Part time virtual instructor position open to candidates with an advanced degree in Education and prior professional and teaching experience.


  • Sales Executive: Will be responsible for supporting new and existing insurance members while working full time and telecommuting from home.
  • Manager, Business Development: B2B sales hunter will use cold calling, prospecting, networking and relationship building to generate new business opportunities.
  • Inbound Sales and Care Representative: Duties include taking inbound calls & selling products/services.

While this overview provides a good idea of what’s available in the top five flexible job industries, there are over 50 job categories to browse at FlexJobs, so to find the type of telecommuting job you’re looking for, take a look at the new jobs posted every day in these  50 job categories.

Brie Weiler Reynolds wrote this guest post. She’s the Content and Social Media Manager at  FlexJobs, the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible job listings, and a former career advisor. At FlexJobs, Brie offers job seekers career and work-life balance advice through the  FlexJobs Blog  and social media.

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