A quick buck or a rip off?

A quick buck or a rip off?

Online jobs may be convenient and well-paying, but they come with a host of risks

Giving an online employer your credit card number can invite trouble.

Most students regard online jobs as the perfect way to make a quick buck. These jobs come in all shapes and sizes — ranging from online market research, which requires employees to fill up paid surveys, to various proof-reading and programming opportunities via the internet. On the plus side, most of these online jobs pay well and don’t require anything more than access to a computer.

     But popular though they may be among students, they also come with certain risks, and the possibility of being scammed by a fictitious employer remains. Metrolife tries to find out how students can avoid being ripped off on the internet.

Anjali, a student of Mount Carmel College, agrees that there are students who turn to online jobs — but she maintains that since most people understand the risks involved, it’s a measure they take only when they desperately need the money. “Students turn to it only in extreme cases, when they really need to earn. However, I wouldn’t personally go in for something like this — I still feel it’s unsafe,” she says.

Ask her why, and she mentions a very basic concern. “Since these jobs pay online, you have to give your credit card or bank account details to your employer. At the end of the day, you really don’t know who these people are. It’s risky, on the whole,” she explains. One of the most common forms of online employment is to take part in market research. In such cases, an employee has to pay a certain initial investment, and is then remunerated based on the number of surveys which he or she answers.

They may seem convenient, but Varun, an engineering student, believes that students should avoid such jobs, and channelise their energies into getting a more productive form of employment. “If one has the time to sit in front of a computer answering surveys, they might as well spend that time applying for a proper part-time job. But if someone decides that an online job is the best option for them, they have to realise that although the initial investment they pay is small, the returns are sometimes even smaller — which by itself is a rip-off,” he says.

He also questions the authenticity of such employers. “This can only be solved by setting up a certification panel which can authenticate an online job provider. By doing so, one only has to look for the certification to avoid being ripped off,” he observes.

 Sharon, also an engineering student, points out another interesting fact: while these jobs may appear quick and convenient, the reality is they aren’t. “I haven’t tried one out personally, but a couple of my friends were doing data entry jobs on the internet. They had to spend about six hours on the computer each day, and then come to college after that — they’d end up dozing in class!” she recalls.

Personally, she feels that since these jobs aren’t particularly convenient, it makes sense to avoid them while studying.

“There’s no point compromising on your studies,” she concludes.

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