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Researching Work-at-Home Opportunities

A growing number of college students are looking for ways to earn an income from their homes. While there are legitimate work-at-home jobs, many advertised opportunities are scams. If an offer sounds too good to be true or does not require qualifications, it is important be aware that it may be a scam. Students who want to work from home must do careful research to avoid being scammed.

How to Research a Company Offering Work-at-Home Opportunities

Review the Company’s Website
Evaluate the website's Quality
If the website looks like it has a sloppy construction, is poorly written, contains multiple spelling errors or does not appear to be professional, it could signify that the website was created quickly by a scammer who is uneducated or changes websites quickly when the scams are discovered.

Determine the Website's Focus
The focus of a legitimate company’s website will be on the company itself or its products. If the information on the website is focused on getting readers to undertake the at-home opportunity it is a sign that the company makes its money by getting people to undertake the opportunity.

Find the Company's Address
If no physical address is listed for the company this could be a sign that the company might not have an actual location.

If there is a physical address is listed make sure that the address is legitimate. Enter the address into Google Maps or a similar program to be certain that the address exists.

Search for Company Reviews
Online Reviews
Reviews can be found on work-at-home forums. Also, doing a Web search by entering in the name of the company followed by the word “scam” to see what information about the company comes up.

Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org)
Check for unresolved complaints through the Better Business Bureau’s website.

Research the Website
Visit Network Solution’s WHOIS site (http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp)

WHOIS is a publically assessable database containing information about websites including contact information for the website owner and the date the website was created.

To research a company’s website, students can search the Web address in the WHOIS database. Contact information for website creator and the date the site was created is listed at the bottom of the page. Recent website creation might indicate that its creator is someone who opens and closes websites as their scams are discovered.

Contact the Company
Students should talk to someone in the company who can answer their questions.

Question to Ask:Students should make sure they have the answers to these and any other questions they have in writing.

After carefully researching a company that offers a work-at-home opportunity, students must make their own decision about the offer. In addition to determining if the offer is legitimate, students must also determine if they will enjoy the work and be able to earn a sufficient income for the work required.

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