Avoiding Scams: Is the Company Legit?

So you’ve found that remote job posting or work-from-home gig that seems just right — just what you were looking for! It’s not ‘too good to be true,’ obvious-scam kine posting, but you still want to know a bit more about the company before you submit all your personal data.

Gone are the days when “a company run out of your apartment” was not seen as legitimate. Nowadays with so many fully-remote companies, a person can run a successful, legitimate company from an apartment. So how to tell which ones might be stable, serious organizations with a clear business plan, customers, products, and payroll — and which ones are either scammers or just non-serious dabblers/hobbyists with no revenue?

Homework. Sorry, but that’s the unfortunate answer — gotta look ’em up online! We can type the company name into search engines, social media sites, and sites such as Glassdoor, Better Business Bureau, Trustpilot, and Crunchbase or Owler.

Is there anything that raises a question in your mind about the company or the position? Is it clearly worded, or is it vague? Do you have to ask,

  • “So wait, is this full-time or part-time?”
  • “Hang on — where is the company homepage?”
  • “Why doesn’t the web address start with ‘https’ (not ‘http’)??”
  • “What’s with all the typos / bad grammar?”

Depending on how many of these strikes a work from home job listing has, these red flags range from somewhere between “Hmm, this company is not very organized,” to “This is a complete scam!”

Say you found a job listing like this:

New job, who dis?

The initial excitement can be powerful, but restrain yourself from clicking that “Apply” button right away. First, read through the listing again slowly.

My first question was, “Who and what is ‘Nathan James’? I never heard of them.” A web search for “Nathan James” yielded these results via

Seems it is indeed a furniture company (beautiful pieces, too!)

So it seems this might be a legit seller, having been vetted by other companies before.

They also have a phone number listed under their help page, and they may have a legal presence in Montreal. And they have a decent Instagram following.

Another way to check a company’s legitimacy is search for their location. You can use Google Maps (I had to scroll a bit, but they are listed):

Their location seems consistent

“Nathan James” didn’t bring up any relevant results on Reddit, LinkedIn, or Glassdoor, so I began to think perhaps they are a smallish company. A search for “Nathan James furniture” on Twitter turned up someone who said the company is “building”:

Check social media for mentions/other folks’ experience with the company

Fake websites, fake Insta, Twitter, Amazon, and Google accounts are no surprise these days. But all four? It’s looking a lot less like an elaborate scam.

It’s a bit harder to tell if they are financially viable. When companies want to check out a new client, they will often check out the company on Dunn & Bradstreet. While we might discover the financial situation of a potential employer that way, it can be very expensive research.

Instead, we can make some guesses from our search results: we know they have a large enough product line, production, and shipping to sustain relationships with Amazon and Home Depot (and Wayfair, too). Also, their careers page shows they have been steadily hiring over the past year, and their stated ‘operating values’ give us a warm fuzzy feeling.

All of this makes us feel more comfortable submitting our application for a remote job with a company which we may not have heard of before. However, we have to take the time to gather enough info — the keys are still a) if it sounds way too good to be true, it probably is, and b) don’t rush to apply without doing some basic sniffing around.

Do you have any good or bad experiences with finding legitimate work-from-home jobs in Hawaii? Please share them in the moderated comments on this site. Mahalo!