Side jobs are a great way to supplement your income, especially if you have time to spare. There are companies that offer flexible hours, easy pay systems, and have an established reputation. However, the popularity of these side jobs has created another channel for criminals to find unsuspecting victims for identity theft.

By posing as a legitimate business, many people are willing to offer their confidential information, giving these criminals an easy way to collect your data. Protect yourself by following these tips to spot these scams.

Look for Red Flags

Often, there are simple red flags that scammers overlook. For instance, if the email is coming from a Gmail or Yahoo account instead of a traditional business email, there’s a high probability that they are not who they claim to be. They may also ask for your information very quickly or refuse to conduct an in-person or phone interview.

Check the Job Description

If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. If the job description is vague and does not follow a standard format, that’s a bad sign. Especially if the pay seems much higher than industry standards.

Research the Company

Take the time to investigate the company itself. Check their website first. If they don’t have one, or it is very simple with an outdated or poor design, this could be a warning sign. You can also check their social media standing, employee reviews, and yelp reviews to see if they have any online presence.

Never Contribute Your Own Money

A significant red flag would be the request for funds. They may claim that the funds are designed to cover training costs, inventory, application fee, processing fee, finder’s fee, or something similar. Never pay these fees or assume these costs. Legitimate businesses do not charge new employees to start their job. In addition, do not send them information, such as your direct deposit information or social security number, until you have confirmed that this is a legitimate opportunity.