Updated April 27, 2020
One fear most people have about online work is encountering scam jobs and employers. We know this is rampant. Most online workers have experienced this at least once or know someone who has been scammed.
Most who fall victim to these scam jobs are newbies but there are ways to avoid them. How will you know if it’s a scam job or not?
Characteristics of A Scam Job
You have to pay to work. Ever encountered a job that asks you to pay a “registration fee”, “security fee” or “licensing fee”? A legitimate employer won’t ask you to buy “software” exclusively from them. If there’s a specialized application that you need to do your job, they either expect that you already have your own copy OR they would give you access to their corporate accounts.
If you have to pay to work, this means that the company isn’t earning from their clients. They’re making money from the fees they got from workers like you.
You need to recruit people or you need to have a “downline” to earn your salary. We’re not talking about legitimate HR (human resource) jobs where it’s their job to find employees. We’re talking about jobs that require you to recruit jobseekers who have to pay to work.
If you look at it, you’ll see that it works a lot like a pyramid scam. Your salary depends on how big your downline is. To increase your income, you’ll need to recruit more workers. That’s because your “salary” is going to come from your downline, not your employer. So if you’re being asked to pay to get a job and if you have to recruit people to earn your salary, it’s a scam job.
They don’t require you to have ANY skills to work. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. There are easy jobs out there but rarely do we find legitimate jobs that say they’re willing to hire anyone even if you have absolutely no skills. If it’s a real job, your employer will want you to have at least one skill to get the job done.
They’re not clear about how they can pay you. Early on, you should ask how they’re going to pay you for your work and when you can expect your salary. You don’t have to wait for the employer to tell you these things. If they can’t answer those questions, start applying elsewhere.
They ask you to send sexy photos or wear something provocative/strip during a video interview. We here at Onlinejobs.ph DO NOT ALLOW ADULT INDUSTRY JOBS. If a potential employer asks you to do anything sexually provocative, please report it to our support team ASAP.
Most Common Scam Jobs:
Captcha jobs: These jobs would require you to read captcha images and fill out what you see on a spreadsheet. Not only most of these jobs scams, the people who post these jobs are often cybercriminals.
Data entry jobs: Not all data entry jobs are scam but we have seen a lot of scam data entry job posts. These are the jobs most beginners go for, which is why most scammers go for them. The scam for data entry jobs can go in a number of ways:
- They ask you to pay to use their exclusive data entry software
- They ask you to do data entry tasks but don’t pay you
- They ask you to do a more complicated task (that you can do) but don’t pay you.
Ad clicking jobs: Online businesses pay advertisers everytime someone clicks on their ad. That’s because clicking on an ad is usually an indicator that you’re interested in the product and you want to buy. Some disreputable advertisers take advantage of this by creating “click farms” where they pay people to click on ads. Click farms are illegal and being part of a click farm makes you an accomplice.
Money laundering jobs: Okay, so they won’t tell you it’s money laundering. You will know that this is what we’re referring to when you’re hired to accept money to your account — most likely PayPal — and transfer smaller amounts of money to other accounts. This would make you an accomplice, too.
Account Rentals: These are scam jobs that offer to pay you if you give them access to your social media, online account accounts or other website accounts. In some cases, you would also be asked by your “employer” to buy bitcoin or accept bitcoin payments for him using your own account. They will say that the reason for this is because the Philippines doesn’t tax bitcoin).
We have even encountered it here in Onlinejobs.ph where non-Filipino jobseekers have offered to pay Filipino workers for access to their profiles.
These people are cybercriminals. They are renting accounts because:
- Their accounts have been blocked
- Their accounts are monitored by law enforcement
- They want to use your account for criminal activity
- They want to steal information from you and your network.
What You Can Do To Avoid Scam Employers
We understand that there are plenty of jobs out there that look legitimate. That’s why we have to be extra vigilant in order to avoid them. So what can you do to avoid being scammed?
Look for jobs from reputable websites. Online jobs are posted everywhere. But the best places to find legitimate jobs is from reputable websites like Onlinejobs.ph, Freelancer, Upwork, etc. Websites like ours have been around for many years and we’re continuously making changes to ensure that both jobseekers and employers are protected from scams.
Don’t be afraid to ask for references or ask questions if you’re not sure. One of the best tips I got on how to avoid scam employers was to ask the employer if he has other Filipino workers. If he does, ask if you could contact them. A legitimate employer wouldn’t have a problem offering references. And it is reassuring to know when an employer has other Filipino workers that can confirm that he’s a legitimate business owner.
If you do encounter a scam employer, report it! Thousands of jobs are posted on our website daily. We do our best to monitor most of them but sadly, some do manage to slip through the cracks. So if you see a scam job, please let us know! By doing this you’re helping us protect other Filipinos and make us better at detecting scam jobs in the future.
What We’re Doing To Stop This From Happening
We at Onlinejobs.ph are aware of this problem and we have placed safeguards to minimize this within our site. Just some of the measures we have implemented are:
Employers Pay To Access Jobseeker Database. Unlike most job sites, we don’t charge commission from jobseekers, instead we charge employers. Why? We’ve noticed most legitimate employers are willing to pay for information to get good workers while scam employers avoid spending as much as they can.
You can verify an employer. Did an employer contact you, claiming to have found your profile on Onlinejobs.ph, but you’re not sure he’s legitimate. You can check out if he’s a real employer on our database with employer search.
Reporting system for scam employers. We have a system in place where you can report employers in the event that they don’t fulfill the terms of your contract. To file an official complaint, all you need to do is email email@example.com, explain to them the situation, and include in the email any information that can support your complaint (contracts, emails, chat history, etc). Once a complaint is filed, we will launch an investigation and talk to your employer on your behalf to help settle the dispute.
Blacklisting scam employers. We regularly receive reports from jobseekers about scam employers, even those that are not on our database. Once we’re able to confirm this, we blacklist them from our database.
Manual, random job database checks. We have virtual assistants who manually check our jobs database to flag scammy job posts and remove them as soon as we can.
Hope these tips help you avoid online scams and help you find the online job of your dreams. Learn more about what jobs are available and what skills you would need to be an online worker by checking out our blog.
Updated April 27, 2020
About Julia Jasmine M. Sta Romana
Julia has been working for OnlineJobs.ph since 2012, first as a writer and now as its social media manager and content development specialist. She also founded the Davao Virtual Assistants Association, the biggest VA association in Davao City
She’s a full-time wife and mom and volunteers her time as an internet rights advocate.