Posted by Cynthia Sycip

The Internet is awash with job offers; all you have to do is check your spam folder –you’ll find a “guru” telling you that he/she will teach you how to earn $1,000-7,000 a week after buying his/her book or CD. That’s a scam– and no matter how tempting the email/video offer looks, do not buy it. You don’t have to pay someone to give you a job; it should be the other way around. Last year, more than 17,000 work-from-home  internet scams and spam  were reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, costing victims over $20 million in losses.

What about outsourcing websites? Freelancer, Odesk and Elance seem to be alright. Be wary –not all of these sites are created equal. In most cases, however, what you should be more wary of is not the sites, but rather, the people on them. For instance, Odesk helps you keep track of working time by requiring you to download software that copies everything completed during “working hours”. Clients and freelancers don’t generally like that; the freelancer doesn’t want their privacy infringed upon, whereas the client doesn’t feel it solves much, since they may still be unfairly billed if the freelancer types slow or performs Google research while doing the job.

Unless you want to be held criminally liable for money laundering, be careful of anyone who wants to send you $5,000 US dollars in advance via Western Union. Be more alarmed if they generously ask you to keep $2k for yourself if you only distribute the rest to an outsourced VOIP/Internet Solutions office somewhere in Southeast Asia. Even if the vendor has a website with a local phone number and address, know that even New York addresses and telephone numbers can be rented online. While some people may think that most of these internet scams and spam are hatched by people overseas, this is not usually true. It is easier for people in North America to come up with access and enough money to open a phony business.

Be careful of what you sign up to resell online!  Entering payment information on the web can lead to your credit card becoming compromised. If you wish to sell VOIP, Network Solutions or anything related to IT to make some extra money online, make sure you select a reputable company that accepts PayPal. If that’s not an option, I recommend you use only a pre-paid card to protect yourself.

If you want to earn money online, always TRUST your instincts. Never give out your credit card or social security number to a stranger; stick to companies that accept PayPal. As far as internet scams and spam goes, be suspicious of anyone who begins by saying, “trust me.”