“Oh my God, he’s like, into weird fetishes!” I said out loud as I re-read the email and realized what I had almost walked into.
No, this isn’t an online dating story gone wrong. This is me attempting to find an innocent special needs care job on Craigslist.
I have worked with people of different abilities and absolutely love it, so when I saw this Craigslist Ad, I didn’t think anything of it.
(This isn’t word for word, but you get the drift)
Baby Sitter Needed for Adult
Feed, sing, put him to bed, etc.
Will need to be ok with changing diapers.
$20 an hour.
Me, in my nativity, thought they must have special needs. I had taken care of a 20-something-year-old male with extreme disabilities full-time for several years, so the diaper part didn’t bother me. The pay was good, I just needed more information.
What followed was me asking normal questions in an email and him responding with some not so normal answers. Then it hit me. The man I was corresponding with did not, in fact, have a disabled loved one he needed care for. He was talking about himself… and there was nothing wrong with him… at least not physically.
That wasn’t the only time I almost got duped on Craigslist. Once upon a time when I was living in the ghetto and working for a ministry, when I used to ride my bike to give plasma to have money to buy food, I decided to delve into the world of Mystery Shopping. I ended up answering an ad that sounded a little too good to be true, but I thought I’d test the waters anyways.
After getting a large check delivered in the mail which I was supposed to deposit and use some of the money to send a Western Union, I made the smart move of ripping it into shreds.
Being a freelance writer (and someone with a random assortment of jobs in the past) I have become somewhat of an expert on weeding through sketchy jobs on Craigslist. I’ll admit, I am still sucked into those pesky click bait ads that love to target SAHMs. Mostly just to laugh at.
Here are some simple tips on how to avoid getting duped while looking for legit work.
1. If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, Run
I know. We all want to make thousands a day in our pajamas without any experience or skill, but not all of us can be the Kardashians.
2.Don’t Trust Anyone With A Bad Website
Bad could mean it looked like Geocities in 1998, or that pop-up ads threw up all over it. It could also mean there is no contact information anywhere.
3. Google (Company Name) Scam
It doesn’t always work if it’s new or they change the name all the time but it might save you some trouble.
4. Only Go with BBB Verified Companies
It’s super easy to google. People love to post complaints. Look for them.
5. Avoid If It’s Super Vague
Correct me if I am wrong, but most legitimate companies will give some kind of description about what you’ll actually be doing.
6. Please, please, PLEASE Meet In a Safe Area
So you find something that looks legit and you send them your resume and land an interview. If you are being hired by an individual and not a company, they won’t have an office space. Starbucks is your friend. Don’t ever agree to meet at their home or in a hotel. This seems like common sense, but sometimes if the money is good and we are desperate to land a gig, that goes out the window.
Don’t Give Up Your Search
There are a lot of scams out there, but there are also a lot of legitimate work-from-home jobs too if you know where to look. When I tell people I mystery shop, half the time people respond that they thought that was all a scam. Don’t let a few con men ruin the opportunity to do what you love and set your own schedule. I’ve found some great gigs online and I still visit Craiglist daily.
Soon I’ll be posting about how to find great, creative jobs you can do from home. But for now, stay safe and avoid the creepers.
Peace & Creativity to you,