10 Telltale Signs of a Work-From-Home Scam

7) Don't ignore the fine print on what you'll be charged.
Lots of ads tell you it's "only" a teeny weeny investment—something like $1 or $3 -- to get started. So you figure, why not give it a shot. That's how they hook you to fork over your credit card information. They get you to overlook the small print that says you're also agreeing to monthly fees of $60 for this and $40 for that. Good luck getting a refund or trying to stop the madness. Many people wind up having to cancel or close their bank accounts -- and they're still on the hook for such fees.

8) Don't get dreamy at the sight of palm trees, beaches, oceans and fast cars.

Many ads feature unauthorized logos such as Google or other big brands, or they include images of a luxurious lifestyle. The swaying palm trees, sandy beaches, gorgeous oceans and fast cars could all be yours if you just take a chance on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not!

9) Don't be fooled by "live agents" who encourage you to "act now."

On some sites when you try to click away, you get a pop up screen that says, "Wait, wait, our live agent wants to talk to you." Then there's an instant message screen with the appearance of a live agent who encourages you to act now -- or miss out on the phenomenal offer. (No legitimate offer will put a timetable of mere minutes on your deadline to make a decision.) It's designed to get you to think there's a real person chatting with you. When I get this box, I type in a question like "What's the weather?" and I get "This is a can't-miss offer" or some other generic reply. I don't expect a Sam Champion-style forecast, but a live person wouldn't answer with a generic reply. Try typing in a series of odd questions, and you'll discover there's no live agent -- it's an automated system designed to trick you.

10) Don't ignore your intuition.

Most times you know the opportunity is fishy. You know something isn't quite right. Yet you're hoping you might, just might, be able to make a bit of money. You think you may be the lucky one who figures it out. It's as if you're forcing yourself to suspend your good judgment. Don't do it. If you see a red flag or smell a rat, drop it and move on.

Tory Johnson is the CEO of Women For Hire., the author of "Fired to Hired" and "Will Work From Home", and the workplace contributor on "Good Morning America". Talk to her about working from home at Twitter.com/ToryJohnson.

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