CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - For many people, working from home is a dream. That dream, however, can turn into a nightmare if they find out the job is not a legitimate opportunity, but a scam.
Gloria Harris, a Westlake mother, managed to find a job that allows her to say home and make money. Plus, it's the real deal, and not a fraud.
Since March, Harris, who used to work in a traditional brick-and-mortar school, has been teaching English as a second language. Her students are mostly children in China, but she also teaches adults in Taiwan and Japan.
"I love it. I mean, yesterday, I literally finished work and I went on a field trip with my daughter. It gives me the freedom to do that, and also, I can travel whenever I want," said Harris.
She works for two different companies, but she says she did a lot of research before she signed up for them.
"I looked it up and there's Facebook groups, there's people who are asking for help to get hired," she said. "There's a lot more information than someone sending you a random email, saying 'work from home.'"
That's a good idea, according to experts. The Better Business Bureau, which tracks scams, says there were nearly 5,000 reported schemes that claimed to offer work-from-home opportunities, but were actually just methods for fraudsters to steal personal information, like victims' social security numbers and bank account data.
While there are a number of red flags you should look for when pursuing a legitimate at-home job, some of those are found in the job listing itself. The BBB reports that jobs that claim to be for envelope stuffers, mystery shoppers, and money processors are scams more often than other kinds of jobs. While some of these opportunities may be legitimate, you may want to scrutinize them extra closely.
You should also avoid sending any money to companies that claim to want to employ you. Most legitimate employers will not ask for upfront cash, and those that do are often scams.
To cut down the chances of you falling into a trap laid by scammers, you should do a lot of research on the company. Check the website to make sure it belongs to a legitimate business, and is not just attempting to copy one. You can also request a video chat interview with business representatives, to make sure you know with whom you are communicating.
Back in Westlake, Gloria Harris says she's thrilled she found her perfect at-home job, and says it's worth the extra research for the lifestyle she enjoys now.
“I’ve been doing it since March,” she said. “And I absolutely love it.”