How to Spot Fake Online Data Entry Jobs

Work from home. How does that sound? No alarm clocks, no need to go outside or dress fancy. As long as you get results, you live on your own rules. If your work is simple, it’s even better.

These opportunities do exist, although they may not be as valuable as real jobs. Why? Because if it’s easy, anybody can do it. Yet, you can expect to find data entry jobs that pay several hundred for dozens of hours of your time.

Have you ever wondered why companies would pay for such tasks? Every business has tedious, necessary tasks to get done. Employers delegate microtasks because they value time more than money.

Most managers don’t want to pay strangers for such microtasks. But someone has to do it, so they could create fake jobs to get it done for free.

What Are Fake Data Entry Jobs?

What Are Fake Data Entry Jobs

Fake data entry jobs include coding, typing, writing, transcribing, or general virtual assistance. In a scam, the victim ends up either working for free or paying to work.

“So easy anybody can do it” is a scammer magnet. They wait for someone who wants to earn a lot for little or no effort. Someone who can follow their instructions without question.

The victims are constantly confused by their emotions, which prevents accurate thinking:

  • They feel greed once they find job offers with big promises.
  • They feel hope when the employer responds to their proposal. Even if they ask for an “investment.”
  • Once hired, they feel excited working on the task.
  • After the task, they are confused because the employer doesn’t pay or simply stops messaging.

Why Do Freelancers Keep Falling For It?

When you first start working from home, you may think you’d be working on projects. In reality, you spend most of the time “hunting.” Data entry is known to bring an inconsistent workload.

The job candidates respond because of some keywords: quick approval, long-term work, good rating, newbies are welcome, remote work.

In a data entry scam, you’ll end up on some of these scenarios:

  • Payment fraud. The client vanishes.
  • The employer has a quality-related excuse to avoid paying.
  • The “partner” has a convincing reason to make you pay to work.

How Data Entry Scams Disguise As Opportunities

How Data Entry Scams Disguise As Opportunities

Most data entry workers apply because of the idea of making a quick buck. They don’t care about the job details as long as they get paid doing it.

Scammers camouflage their listings to attract money chasers. They show how much money you can make without mentioning upfront costs or free work involved. Here are a few examples:

Affiliate Scams

Affiliate marketing can make you money while you sleep. The problem? Succeeding takes a ridiculous amount of effort if the product doesn’t sell. You can post hundreds of links everywhere every day and not get a single commission.

This group includes pyramid schemes and faulty MLMs. Your job is to share the templates they give you on a group of websites. You only make money when someone buys.

The catch? Even if you do well, the owner of the affiliate program decides if he will pay you.

Mail Management

Scammers prefer low risk because it prevents them from getting caught. Low risk means low reward, and to increase this reward, you need to bring more people. Usually, via junk mail and cold emails.

A scammer will hire you to gather contacts for them. You visit websites and profiles with some software they give you to collect contact information. Address, phone number, name, and so on.

You are helping the con man to find more victims. If you ever get paid, it will again depend on the results they get, not the work you complete. Yet, people apply because of the promise of making thousands of dollars within the first month.

Enticing Offers

High rates, easy job. No requirements. Time-limited!

The employer makes it look so good you can’t ignore the listing. It also gives the impression they care more about making you money than solving their job problem. How curious.

You can imagine the hundreds of hungry workers who will apply. Many of them will be willing to give a free sample only to get the position, which is how the employer takes advantage of the confidence trick.

Say you get a hundred applications, and twenty of them give you different samples. You have just got the work done for free.

Unfulfilled Promises

Most freelance platforms show you the history of their clients. When they joined, their feedback, how much they have spent, when was the last project, and the people who worked with them.

When you apply for their data entry job, you see the potential earnings and time required. In the description, however, clients can promise benefits they can’t prove or go against the terms of service.

  • They offer a low rate, like $5/h. But they promise a $60 tip after you complete the work.
  • They guarantee a thorough five-star review on the job to complete.
  • They promise to publish you as the author of your work for reputation — but they don’t.
  • They promise to give referrals or share their customer base.
  • They will work with you long term if they like the sample.


If a client has had a good experience in the past, you will likely apply for their job. Who wouldn’t trust a person with hundreds of positive reviews and testimonials? Exactly.

A scammer can fake credibility to remove suspicion. And victims will trust him because of his background, even if the job description looks fishy.

How Do You Spot Fake Job Offers?

How Do You Spot Fake Job Offers

Employers want data entry workers to save time. It’s an investment. They know that spending money on someone like you will save them more money in the future. You are already helping them; why would they want to scam you?

These five red flags help us tell real clients from fraudsters.

Pay To Work

Pay-to-work is common among business partner scams. The entrepreneur knows that you need to invest something in order to grow it. But jobs like data entry need no investment, no skills, and can be remote.

You pay to work if:

  • The client asks for collateral or “goodwill” money so that they trust you for a long-term agreement.
  • Your task requires some software you can only buy from the client.
  • They demand an entry fee, or you pay to send the proposal.
  • You buy the required starter kit they sell
  • They change the work conditions once you have completed half of the work. Item 1

You don’t need to send any money to make money. Data entry only requires time and some skills. You are already trading hours for dollars: pay-to-work is a scam.

Outside Methods

Most clients gather on freelance sites to reach potential workers. Fiverr, Upwork, PeoplePerHour, Guru, Freelancer. As a rule of thumb, you always work on the main platform, so the team of the corresponding platform can assist you in case of fraud.

Scammers are control-obsessed. They want more control to manipulate your money, prevent you from recovering it, and avoid getting caught. They get it with confidence tricks, making you think their method has your best interests in mind.

So they invite you to another messaging platform. Another payment method. Another website. Before you know it, you’re following their instructions with no chance to go back.

Workers think that being flexible helps them secure more jobs. This thought also makes them vulnerable to credit card scams and identity theft.

Unless this employer has already made you money, stick to the native platform.

Test Projects

It all started with an ad like this one:

“No experience nor skills required. You won’t need anything we can’t teach you. We want a data entry worker who is willing to learn and adapt to the circumstances.”

You enter this “preparation stage” where these people train you to qualify for their job. You do what they say and pray for approval.

Test projects — also known as free samples — are the twin of pay-to-work schemes. Except that now you’re giving away something far more valuable: time.

We get it. Companies need some history to trust you. If you don’t have a portfolio, you can do free tasks to get that initial feedback and testimonials. Learn to set boundaries so that you know whether they are testing you or taking advantage.

Selling The Dream

As an employer, you want to craft a job description that’s, at the same time, compelling and specific. You want workers who understand your conditions and feel excited to work with you.

Real employers want specific people to reach out, even if it means getting fewer proposals. Scammers want to force a response and get as many replies as they can. Employers talk about who’s the right person for the job; scammers talk about the money you’ll make.

In the market, employers care about their problems, not your financial dreams. Why would someone want to sell the offer? Some job descriptions look more like infomercials.

No Communication

Many job boards are full of ghost data entry projects. The person spams dozens of listings with little or no variation and barely interacts on the platform.

They may be pasting the same template on dozens of platforms at the same time.

The client accepts the proposal, and you start working. However, the client never replies to any direct message. The payment is neither verified, so you could send your work and get nothing.

Fake Data Entry Job Examples

Fake Data Entry Job

The Difficult Customer

The client offers to pay a decent amount, BUT the work has to be perfect. No matter what, they will find something else to improve and make you revise your work. If they find a blunder — such as typing DD/MM/YYYY instead of MM/DD/YYYY — the client can refuse to pay in the middle of a project.

The Virtual Assistant Cheque Fraud

Scammers hire VAs to pick up items from other locations, including checks. The employer tells the assistant to cash a check and send them part of the sum. If you cash $1000 and send $500, the remaining $500 is your assistant salary.

People won’t pay you much for completing irrelevant tasks. If they do, it’s fake money: that fake check bounces back, but the money you sent is already lost.

The Upseller

Data entry job fraud relates to advance fee scams. You can promise victims to make a huge income from home if only they “invest” a bit.

Needless to say, the con man has no intention to hire you. They simply keep asking you to buy training, software, and kits until you give up.

How To Avoid Fake Data Entry Jobs

How To Avoid Fake Data Entry Jobs

A scammer wants to work independently, with no middlemen involved. They look for people who can follow instructions and work outside their platform. They will fake their identity to establish credibility, and they will spam their offer on as many job boards as they can find.

As we’ve seen, fraudulent clients follow a predictable pattern. The following security steps will help you avoid these risks and find real opportunities.

Disclose Your Conditions

Coming prepared is an advantage as a data entry worker. Although the job is simple, you still need to let your employers know what they can expect.

We recommend you inform us about the risks before applying for data entry jobs. Once you know how it works, write a profile description that filters all the potential scammers (a FAQ section).

Fraudsters want you to follow specific steps that normal clients won’t ask. If you get it straight from the beginning, you may get less work offers, but they will be legit.

Let them know your terms about “test projects,” payment methods, communication channels, and so on.

Legitimate Sources

Don’t be surprised if you find too many fishy deals. As a data entry worker, the hard part is learning how to find work, not the job itself.

It takes research to understand what your ideal clients want and where they gather. If you come into a freelance site with no clear strategy, you will be far from the action.

Remember that fraudulent listings “sell” themselves. Scammers will pay for ad campaigns and featured listings to get your attention. Instead, choose to be the one who approaches clients.

Learn From Stories and Reviews

It helps to read some success stories about those who have achieved what you want. You’re likely not the first data entry worker. Find the right community and learn from others. Real experiences will teach you faster than individual research.

As you go through the posts, you may find opportunities that are far better than the one you found at first. Don’t make the mistake of rushing to accept the offer: trust but verify.

Stay on the platform

As a new freelancer, you’ll need experience before making larger sums. Grow your profile on the freelance platform before looking elsewhere. It keeps everything easier and prepares you for future projects.

Clients visit these sites because they have urgent work to get done. Preferably at a low price. Why on Earth would someone promise thousands of dollars for data entry to someone with no history? No reason.

If someone does, it could be a scam targetting newbie freelancers. As a rule of thumb, stay on the platform to get payment protection and create your work history until you can start attracting your ideal clients.

Know When To Report

There’s always a first time for online scams. If a fraudster tricks you to give them money, report to the freelancer site to have a chance to recover it.

If it happens outside the platform, use generic websites such as BetterBusinessBureau or FederalTradeCommission. Before you open a dispute, make sure to have enough proof of the scam.

Data Entry Jobs: Can You Make A Living Doing Simple Tasks?

Can You Make A Living Doing Simple Tasks

Although a lot of online data entry jobs you find online are scams, these convenient jobs do exist. But it requires discipline to reject offers that sound too good to be true, searching until you find it.

Of course, if anybody can do it, we have a competition problem. However, you can rise above the noise using the right strategy.

  • Give value upfront (or samples) to the set clients’ expectations.
  • Learn and practice data entry to become more and more skilled.

Eventually, you start making good money data entry. The question is: would you choose to work with hundreds of new clients every time or a small group of habitual employers?

Making new connections can make you more money but also exposes you to fraudulent buyers. As a worker, you want to spend most of your time doing the actual work, not looking for contacts.

Habitual clients save you at that time, so all your attention is on data entry. Best of all, it prevents you from potentials scams because:

  • A long term employer will almost never scam you
  • Habitual clients remove the need of looking for new contacts. You won’t find scammers if you don’t need to search for clients.

Once you know how to avoid fraud, start getting results for real clients. Start small to build rapport and rise above the noise.

Despite how unrealistic it sounds, you can make extra cash from data entry jobs. Treat it seriously, and before you know it, you’ll have a list of people who choose you for their projects.

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