When I find a good job lead, I will post it on several work at home forums with the word "Unresearched" in bold. Of course it simply means the job lead hasn't been well...researched. A lot of scammers are very good at making a not-so-legitimate job very legitimate sounding which is why doing your own due diligence is so very important. A lot of times people will respond to my post with "Thanks for the great job lead! I applied." Wait a second! Back up! You said you applied?
At this point, I'm hoping they saw the first and bold word Unresearched at the top of the page before jumping in with both feet and shooting off an email with all their personal information on it.
First, you should only have your first and last name and email address on your resume unless you're 150% sure it's a reputable and legitimate company. Too many times people have provided sensitive information that ended up in the wrong hands. It's much too late to think of it after the fact.
Finding a telecommuting job is a huge and stressful task as is and you don't need to deal with the extra stress of not knowing where or who has your personal information.
In no particular order, here are some ways to conduct your research.
1. Check with BBB.org to see if there are any complaints. If they aren't listed it doesn't necessarily mean they are good to go.
2. Check with Federal Trade Commission - ftc.gov
3. Check the company for a physical location. A legitimate company will freely provide street address and telephone number.
4. Check if they have a website. Sometimes a website will have warning signs if it isn't legit such as grammar and spelling errors, poor English and so forth.
5. Ask around various work at home forums if anyone has/had any experience with them.
6. Check the company's references. Request a list of their employees or ICs or contractors and then contact them and ask how it has worked for them.
These are just a few ways and the most important one to live by? If it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is.
Remember, never give your social security number, credit card, passport information or drivers license to anyone unless it is requested and you know for sure the company is reputable and legitimate.
S McIntyre owns Work At Home Space, a free work at home resource focusing on telecommuting companies, daily telecommute job leads, articles, business resources and other work at home related topics. You can also visit her blog Healthy Perspectives, featuring an array of health topics, nutrition, recipes and fitness for maintaining an overall healthy and well-balanced lifestyle.