Attempts to make a quick buck can often backfire

When K. Devi, a commerce graduate, began the home-based data entry work that she was involved in till a few months ago, she tried to ensure it was not one of the regular scams. “I liked it initially and I was paid on time, but after three months, they increased the work load, and said I would be paid in bulk for every quarter which never happened.”

Having already paid Rs.5,000 as membership fee, and worked for 11 months, she is devastated now.

“The website of the company has disappeared. They tell me that since I am not enrolled in their rolls, I cannot ask for salary,” she says.

For people who are bombarded and intrigued by advertisements for work-at-home jobs promising high income, there exists the strong possibility of being cheated like her.

While many have scorn for these claims advertised in trains, on electric poles and walls, an equal number of people also fall prey to them.

Only seventy per cent of these jobs are genuine, says Debarati Haldar, cyber security expert.

While many of the offences can be addressed under cyber crime, few people complain, she says. “Most people think since it is a matter of a few thousand rupees, it is fine to forget about it. Repeated complaints can help the cyber police track them.”

‘Teaching' copy-paste

Divya Narayan, a software engineer, has had her share of experiences too.

“Many of the ‘companies' insist you pay a certain fee to undergo the training for the work. And they charge you over Rs.2,000 to ‘teach' you copy pasting. Sometimes, they also ask you to buy the software required for the work, say sending bulk messages, which costs over Rs.18,000,” she adds.

Many people agree to such proposals thinking it is a one-time expense, but it never ends with that because most times it's not a company but an ‘individual' posting such jobs.

A. Krishnan, another victim, says, “Many a time, when you insist on meeting the person, they call you to bus stands or traffic signals to talk over rules which is completely unprofessional.”

Not all of these sites and ads are fake, say people who run ad posting websites. “

It saves a lot of money for the company and gives work flexibility to employees,” says Vinod T., of Starnet Technologies.

Rules not intimated

“The rules are never intimated over phone, and the ‘scheme' keeps changing. It is only when you stop getting paid that you go back to the track of long emails sent earlier. But by then it is too late to react because the targets have increased, and you have to achieve them to reclaim your earlier payments too,” says A. Jayakumar, a college student.

People who are engaged in translation of journals and editing say freelancing is always better than going for these ‘inconsistent' offers. Sometimes though, “The quality of translation often becomes a reason for companies to deduct from your pay,” says A. Shobana, a home-based editor.

Links that keep redirecting to other links, mails with different fonts, constantly changing web addresses and telephone numbers of the employers, grievance forums are some ways to identify a fake job offer.

Sleepless nights

The promise of easy money lures all, says Preeti Ravindran, an IT employee. “Plenty of students take these jobs thinking it can fetch them good money, but they end up spending sleepless nights working to achieve those unreasonable targets. And the work does not even give you certificates that would count as work experience, and there is nothing useful you learn,” she adds.

Aswathy Sridharan, a recruiting consultant, says it is always better to go for verified websites with proper contact numbers, and at least meet the employer once and get documented proofs of the work required and contract agreement.

“One has to remember that there is no quick way of getting rich with home-based jobs,” she says

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