Work at Home Data Entry Job Scams

You’ve seen the opportunities on Google and they used to be all over Craigslist until Craigslist started charging advertisers money to make job postings in their major markets. It goes something like this:

Make Money Working from Home
No Experience Necessary
Data Entry Jobs paying up to $500 a Day
Learn more now!

And then you go to the website and find out you need to pay anywhere from $17 to $97 to get more information about these jobs. Thus breaking rule no. 1: Never pay to work.

The fact that the “data entry at home” job opportunities have dried up on Craigslist as a result of them now charging for job postings is one of the first clues that those jobs were scams in the first place. Any real employer, even small ones, are willing to pay to post their jobs. Craigslist is much cheaper than advertising in most metro Sunday papers. They only charge $25 for a job posting in a major city like Boston. Real employers never require an application fee from job seekers.

data entry job scams
data entry job scams

Online Data Entry Job Scams

How does the scam work?

There’s a couple of different possibilities for exactly how any particular job scam works, but the most common is a new spin on the “stuff envelopes at home” scam, specifically designed for the internet.

Instead of being told to place the exact same classified ads in newspapers, selling the “stuff envelopes at home” opportunity, you are instead told to place ads online using pay-per-click services such as Google Adwords. What product will you advertise? Why the membership to the “Data Entry Jobs at Home” website, of course. Or the ebook!

Whichever way they are packaging the scam, that’s what they want you to sell and if you do it, it puts even more money in their pockets — assuming, of course, you are successful and are actually able to sell the scam to other people over and over again.

Can you actually make money placing ads on Google Adwords? Yes, you sure can. It is a perfectly legitimate way of advertising things or information that is for sale, but it doesn’t resemble data entry in the slightest. This is how many affiliate marketers advertise their offers and many of those offers are not scams.

You will have much more success at this kind of work however if you are not selling scammy products and you know how to write sales copy and how to market products. In essence, affiliate marketing using Google Adwords is a sales job. And sales jobs are nothing like data entry jobs, so right there, the data entry job offers are totally misleading.

If you are interested in affiliate marketing with Google Adwords, I would still stay away from the data entry sites. The information they give on Adwords is sketchy at best and you are more likely to wind up losing money on Adwords than making a profit. The first place you should start learning about Adwords is at Google itself.

And start reading.

Once you’ve read everything on the Adwords site, if you still need more guidance, there are dozens of Adwords books available.But ultimately, you'll learn best by simply trying Adwords out. It is very much a learning experience and you need to set a budget for yourself for money that you can lose -- because it can take awhile to catch on to how best to take advantage of it.

How to recognize a Data Entry Job scam

They want you to pay for the information

Never pay to work for someone else. You do not need to send money to real employers to show that you are “serious” about the job or for the paperwork or software to do the job.

If you work as an independent contractor you will frequently need to spend your own money on hardware — such a a second landline telephone, a headset or a transcription machine, but you will buy that stuff yourself at your local Radio Shack or someplace.

If you are doing work for someone else, they will always supply you with any software and paperwork required for free. You might have to spend money on ink to print it out. That’s it!

Does the earnings potential sound legit?
Does the earnings potential sound legit?

Question the Earnings Potential

The next way to recognize an online data entry job scam is an outrageous statement about earning potential. Being able to earn $500 a week doing data entry jobs is not unimaginable, depending on your job market and skills, but $500 a day for an entry-level job requiring few skills? It’s completely out of the question.

Offline data entry jobs where you actually have to show up at an office to do the work pays anywhere from minimum wage to $11 or $12 an hour. You might see data entry jobs for $14-20 an hour if you happen to be in a community with a very low unemployment rate and a high demand by employers to fill these sorts of jobs, but at those wages, you’ll need both experience and very good keyboarding skills, especially with a 10-key numeric keyboard. You’ll most definitely be given a typing test or an test on the 10-key to get a job like that.

Any telecommuting job opportunities naturally would pay in the same range as any other type of job in the same field. In fact, you’ll frequently find that they’ll pay lower wages because they can leverage the marketplace. Why hire workers from big cities like Los Angeles, New York or Chicago where the average pay scale needs to be higher to cover the higher cost of living when you can hire someone in other parts of the US or even overseas where wages are quite a bit lower?

The Alluring Evidence - Beware the Paypal Screenshot

The sales page for a data entry job scam almost always includes screenshots showing off how much the person running the scam has earned. The beauty of this for the scammers is that they don’t even need to go to the effort of using Photoshop to create fake documents.

They simply use screen shots of what they’ve earned selling the scam itself because nothing about the stats indicates why money was paid. This is particularly true if they are showing off their Paypal account. Paypal is owned by Ebay and is often used for buying and selling on Ebay. A Paypal screenshot is only going to show you how much money has been sent to that account and for all you know they just sold off a garage full of stuff on Ebay. The money could be from anywhere.

Clickbank Earnings screenshot
Clickbank Earnings screenshot

Other screenshot tricks are showing off Clickbank earnings or showing deposits into their bank account. Again, neither of these provide evidence of where the money actually comes from. There is a transaction screen on Clickbank that does show where the earnings come from, but you can bet they sure aren’t showing you that one.

You’ll likely see this instead:

This is a screenshot from my own Clickbank account. You’ll see much bigger sales numbers on a scam website because they devote a lot more time to selling stuff on Clickbank than I do. So ignore the dollar amounts for now and focus on the following:

Payperiod Sales Subtotals
Daily Sales Subtotals

Okay, so what’s been sold? It doesn’t even tell you that, does it? All it shows is how much money was made. That’s not even remotely useful information. The word Sales is also a trigger word here. It’s not payment for work done. It’s payment for sales made. Clickbank is an e-commerce mall, not a site that hires people to do data entry work. There are lots of other similar sites out there and Clickbank recently booted most of the “Work at Home” scammers out of their system, so you may see different screen shots than these, but if you keep an eye out for the word “sales” you should be able to work out that the screenshot has nothing to do with earnings made for data entry work.

typing jobs
typing jobs

Common Phrases to Trigger Your Scam Alarm

I mentioned at the start of this article that one of the standard scams is to sell you information about placing advertising on Google Adwords, usually for the same product that you just bought. This is a form of affiliate marketing where you take a cut of the sales price from the product that you sold.

It is a perfectly legitimate avenue for earning money online and there’s a variety of ways to go about it. One of the other common ways besides running pay per click advertising campaigns is article marketing. In a nutshell, article marketing is writing articles for websites for free, but making sure a link is placed back to your own website. There’s a lot more to it than that, but this will suffice for now while you try to figure out if something is a scam.

These are just some of the trigger phrases to look for:

Ad Typing (or Typist)
Marketing Typist (or Typing)
Article Typing
Response Typist

These are all shady euphemisms for writing ad copy that you will either 1.) place on Google Adwords, 2.) place in article directories (article marketing) or 3.) post in forums and message boards.

What’s wrong with it?


I’ll get into typing vs writing in a second, but I’d just like to talk about a few other things that are wrong with this first, which all relate to “response typist” or forum spamming. Yep, forum spamming. Sure, you can call it posting, but most of the other people on the forum you are invading with marketing copy will consider it spamming — as will the other places that are commonly recommended for this tactic, Craigslist, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, etc. You will not make friends doing this. Don’t do it!

Now onto typing vs writing: Data entry jobs — whether we are talking about 10-key or word processing — are about inputting information that has already been providing for you. Data entry jobs do not require that you come up with your own copy. That’s the job of a freelance writer or copywriter. Copywriting is a task that requires a completely different skill set – creative writing and marketing. Typing jobs only require that you TYPE QUICKLY AND ACCURATELY.

In addition, you should also note that if you are doing affiliate marketing — which is what this boils down to — there is no guarantee that you will ever make any money. I write ads to put on Google Adwords myself. Some of them make money and some of them lose money. I also write articles. I frequently spend a couple of hours writing 500 words for one article because I need to do some research as well. Data entry work doesn’t require any research. Some of these articles make me money, some of them don’t. The ones that do, it is often weeks before I start to see a return for them.

On the other hand, when I did data entry work myself, I got paid for every single thing I did. I wasn’t taking any risk and I certainly wasn’t writing copy for anyone. I was either transcribing audio tapes, word processing handwritten documents or recording accounting data on a 10-key. Easy, mind-numbing work that took effort, but not a lot of brain involvement, if you know what I mean. It took me more effort to write this article than it ever did to type someone else’s messy handwriting into Microsoft Word.

Other Work at Home scams

So far, I’ve covered what the “affiliate marketing masquerading as data entry job” scam looks like, but that’s not the only scam out there. Some people might even think that scam falls into a grey area since you can potentially make money doing what those sites suggest even though it’s not even remotely what you signed up to do.

The other types of Work at Home job scams include the large scale flat-out scammer who sets up a website, posts a ton of ads at once, collects his money and then disappears forever — or rather disappears for now only to pop up under a new name somewhere else.

The next type of scam is the one that suggests you are going to be working directly for them and are going to be paid by them, but when you send them your money you get a list back with a bunch of forms and an outdated list of employers to contact on your own who may or may not (most likely scenario) hire you.

This leads me to one other point. If a website appears to be suggesting that you will be working directly for them and also paid by them, but they:

  1. want money from you, and
  2. don’t require a full job application or resume.


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Comments 2 comments

chinemeremz profile image

chinemeremz 5 years ago

Scams seem to have pervaded the entire length and breadth of cyber space, but uncovering these scams requires indepth skills, this is where people like you come in. Thanks for this info as you have saved a thousand people from getting ripped off from these dogs. Just got it bookmarked and I plan digging it and emailing it to my friends too.

Silvia 5 years ago

Thanks a lot for this info! I am looking for a real work at home, and yes, nearly everything you find is on the lines of your article... Will keep on looking, and certainly running away from scammers :)

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