In this post I want to bring your attention to a scam I've come across called 'AOJ work from home jobs', which are completely FAKE jobs that are being posted all over the place online.
The truth is that the scammers behind these fake job postings are luring in unsuspecting individuals and making money off of them by getting them to join paid survey sites.
I know... ridiculous, right? But this is unfortunately what is going on and I'll explain everything.
Fake Job Postings
One of the things that makes this scam so effective, and what is probably leading to tons of people wasting their time with it, is that these fake job postings are being listed on legitimate and trusted job search boards.
It seems that right now the scammers are really posting a lot of fake jobs on CareerBuilder. There are dozens of listings as I'm writing this but they all point to the same scam.
Example: Here you can see one of the fake job listings I came across. it is listed as a "Data Entry Agent Work From Home" job that pays $17 - $24 per hour...
Now if that isn't tempting then I don't know what is.
Starting off at $17/hr for a data entry position in which you can work from home... where do I sign up?
The job details don't tell you much, but do say that there are both full-time and part-time opportunities in "data entry, customer support, billing, typing, and administrative"...
The crazy thing is that the Job Requirements are only that you have a computer with internet access and are able to work in a quiet area to get the job done!...
Now this is a major red-flag for me.
If something sounds too good to be true then it probably is. This old saying is a good one to stick to.
Come on now... they are telling me that they will pay $17-$24 per hour, I can work from anywhere on my own time, AND there are basically no requirements? Now that sounds too good to be true... and it is.
The Fake Application Process
When you click the link (or button) to apply you are taken to the AOJ Work From home Jobs website, which looks like this...
Nothing on the website looks that suspicious to the untrained eye... other than how they still are making this opportunity sound way too good to be true.
However, in the top menu there are links for "Paid Surveys Advice & Tips" which seems a bit strange since this company is supposed to provide data entry work.
Why is there mention about paid surveys of all things? Well, you will see shortly.
But all in all things seem to be pretty normal and they even have some job Pre Screening Questions you have to answer...
BUT... this entire "Pre Screening Questions" process is completely fake and was just created to try to make this seem like a legitimate job opportunity.
As I was going through the process I answered "No" to all of the questions that had "Yes" or "No" choices, which should stop me from being able to apply... but I was still able to proceed as if everything was okay.
So it doesn't matter what answers you give here... they don't really care.
After filling out the Pre Screening Questions which don't matter at all, you are then taken to step 1, which is to join a website called LifePoints.
In the instructional video there is no information given on what LifePoints is and why you are supposed to join... you are just told to join and shown how to do so.
After you join LifePoints you are told that you have to complete the surveys, which will "unlock more job opportunities for you"... but this is complete BS and is just a way for the scammers behind this to make more money off of you, as I'll explain in a bit.
below the first video there is a button to continue to step #2, which I just couldn't wait to do (joke).
Step 2 consists of joining another paid survey website, this one called Inbox Dollars...
Once again there is an instructional video from AOJ that shows you how to sign up for this paid survey site... and once again there is no information given as to why you are supposed to sign up. They don't even tell you what the website is about!
Step 2 is the last of the steps, HOWEVER, below that there is a section to "Register Bonus Accounts" and we are told that they "highly suggest creating accounts with each company to significantly increase your earnings"...
They list 8 different surveys sites, many popular ones such as Toluna and Pinecone Research.
These are all legitimate paid survey websites that they are referring you to, but the opportunity is very misleading.
This Isn't About Making Money by Taking Surveys
First I thought I'd be getting a data entry job that pays $17-$24 per hour... then it seemed that I'd be taking surveys to make money... BUT this isn't what it's all about.
As mentioned, all of the paid survey sites, such as LifePoints and Inbox Dollars, are legitimate. However, they don't pay anywhere near $17/hr and you can't earn an hourly wage with these sites.
In a nutshell, survey sites like this pay people for their opinions. They pay you to take short surveys because they are getting paid by large companies for market research purposes.
But the pay is extremely low... usually anywhere from $0.50 - $2.00 per survey.
It's true that surveys on sites like these only take 10-15 minutes generally speaking, but it's not like you have an unlimited number of surveys to complete. You can't just take survey after survey, earning more and more money. It doesn't work like that... AND you will get disqualified or "screened out" of many surveys which will end up being a waste of your time.
BUT... This Isn't About Taking Surveys..
They get you to sign up for a bunch of paid survey sites and you are telling me this isn't a scam to get you to take surveys?
Once you get to the "Members Training Area" you find out that it is all about "referral marketing".
It's All About Referral Marketing
You know how I've been saying that the people behind AOJ Work From Home Jobs are making money off of people signing up for this?
Well, this is because they are making money via referral marketing.
All of the different paid survey sites that they tell people to sign up for have referral programs where you can make money by referring others to join. Swagbucks, Gift Hunter Club, etc... they all pay people to do this. This is completely legitimate and there are lots of companies that offer bonuses when you get other people to join.
However, obviously the way that AOJ is getting referrals is not very ethical... because of how they mislead people into thinking it is a real job opportunity.
The reason in Step 1 & Step 2 they tell you that "you must" complete the initial surveys after joining is because that is a requirement for them to earn referral commissions... but of course they don't tell you this part. They only tell you that it will increase your chances of earning.
Referral marketing is basically the same thing as affiliate marketing (which is what I do for a living), just instead of promoting products and earning commissions you promote memberships/opportunities to earn commissions. Either way you are promoting things by posting links and getting buy or join through your link. It's the same thing really.
The Free Training Provided
After you go through the 2 steps of signing up for LifePoints and Inbox Dollars, at the bottom of the page (under the 8 additionally recommended survey sites) you can go to the members area to get training...
Below is a screenshot of what you will be directed to. As you can see, the name of this website is American Online Jobs, which is actually an older version of this scam. Since it has been rebranded to just AOJ...
The Older Version of This Scam: American Online Jobs is what this scam used to be called but it has since been rebranded (for the most part). The American Online Jobs website still exists, as you can see from the training area, but this opportunity is mostly promoted under AOJ now. Why? Well, likely because there are many reviews exposing the American Online Jobs scam and the creators have rebranded it so they can promote it as a new opportunity.
The Training: It's All About Scamming Others Into Joining!
The training has been put together by a lady named "Brenda" who seems to be one of the main people behind this scam. According to some other sources her name is Brenda Rosenberg, but this could be made-up.
The training consists of 9 different lessons that will teach you how to lure others into this fake opportunity--so in a nutshell it teaches you how to scam people.
It's all about "referral marketing", which is when you refer people to join programs, such as these survey sites, and earn money for doing so--more on this in a bit.
- Lesson 1: Orientation
- This is just a very short lesson that tells you what you should have done and what to expect in the training. Not much to say about this.
- Lesson 2: Facebook
- This lesson is all about Facebook, including Facebook Groups, Facebook PPC, and Facebook Jobs. It basically gives a very brief overview of these different areas of Facebook you can utilize to get referrals. Brenda recommends joining 15 or so FB groups per day so that you can post ads. She also goes over creating a business page so that you can post jobs.
- Lesson 3: Craigslist
- This lesson goes over the "secret of Craigslist". Basically you are learning how to post fake jobs. Brenda states that posting ads like this in the Jobs section will cost anywhere from $10-$45... so it's not free.
- Lesson 4: Bing
- This was supposed to be a lesson on Bing Ads but instead was about how referral marketing is not MLM (multi-level marketing). I guess this is a mistake in the training.
- Lesson 5: Youtube
- This lesson provides an overview of how to use Youtube to get referrals... more specifically how to rank videos in Youtube and get referrals. Brenda recommends an extra training course on Udemy which costs $199.99.
- Lesson 6: Instagram
- This lesson is about getting referrals through Instagram and consists of several paragraphs of information that can be read in 1 minute. There is no video but there is a link provided for additional information, which takes you to an article on Instagram marketing.
- Lesson 7: Pinterest
- This lesson is the same type of deal as the previous one... but even shorter. Here you get 1 paragraph of information and a link to an article about Pinterest marketing.
- Lesson 8: GetResponse
- This lesson talks about GetResponse, which is an email software that has an autoresponder... which allows you to collect emails addresses and send out automated emails to leads.
- Lesson 9: Create a Website
- Here you learn how to register and create your affiliate account for American Online Jobs as well as a website.
Overall the training is incredibly brief and lacking big time. It basically gives you a short overview of various ways to post ads and get referrals but doesn't go in depth on any. For example: the lesson on Facebook is just over 5 minutes long when you can find entire courses costing thousands of dollars on just one area of Facebook marketing.
The Training In a Nutshell: It's all about getting referrals... but not just about that. The 9th lesson is on how to create an affiliate account for AOJ as well as a website. The point is to refer other people to this scammy AOJ system and then make referral commissions when they join the various paid survey sites that are being promoted.
You are encouraged to do to people exactly what happened (or almost happened) to you... which is sucker them into a fake job opportunity so that you can make money off of them (via referral rewards) by getting them to join paid survey sites.
Can You Actually Make Money... And If So, How Much?
Referral marketing, as mentioned, is a real thing... and a legitimate way to make money. There are all sorts of companies that have referral programs, one of the most well known being Uber who offers up to $1,000 referral bonuses for referring drivers to them.
You can make money via referral marketing and you can make a lot if you are good... but there certainly is no guarantee you will make much and most people hardly make anything.
I've been making money online since 2015 and mostly do affiliate marketing, but do some referral marketing as well. I know what it takes and I know that, unless you have online marketing experience or a massive social media following to refer loads of people, you won't make much.
*Or unless you have good training that will teach you the tricks of the trade.
The Problems With This
#1. Low Referral Commissions
Let's not forget that the referral commissions you will be earning are from paid survey sites. These are extremely low.
For example, with Inbox Dollars you can only earn a measly $1 per referral... and this is only after your referrals set up their accounts (which usually includes taking the initial profile surveys). Some survey site referral programs might pay more, but I have also seen some that pay less. Overall they pay extremely low.
#2. Severe Lack of Training
As we know the training is very shallow. It only briefly covers a variety of ways to get referrals but certainly isn't going to be much help for someone without online marketing experience.
What this means is that you are going to have to find additional training elsewhere, and this is going to likely cost money if you want good training.
Just think about it: how many referrals will you really be able to make posting on social media right now? A couple?... and how often will you be able to get a couple referrals who are interested in joining a fake job opportunity?
Anyone can join a bunch of Facebook groups and post ads in them, but doing so successfully without getting kicked out of groups isn't as easy as it sounds.
#3. Ethical Dilemma
And let us not forget that this is a scam. If you follow through with what is going on here you will literally be deceptively misleading people to join a fake job opportunity.
Quick Recap of What's Going On Here
- AOJ Work From Home Jobs are being posted on legitimate job-boards, such as CareerBuilder.
- Most commonly this job opportunity is listed as Data Entry, and said to pay good... the job posting I found claimed $17-$24 per hour.
- When you go to apply you are directed to the AOJ Work From Home Jobs website.
- You are taken through a series of steps to sucker you into joining paid survey websites.
- The purpose of joining is for the scammers behind it to make referral commissions off of you.
- There is then training provided which is intended to get you to promote the AOJ scam to others in order to make money.
Conclusion - Scam
These days I'm usually pretty lenient and will often give programs/systems the benefit of the doubt... but AOJ is a scam, plain and simple (my opinion of course). I don't think anyone can disagree with this.
On the upside: at least you don't have to pay anything and they aren't scamming people out of their money. The only thing you will lose after being sucked into this is a bit of time... and likely some hope in finding a legitimate job.
But anyways... I hope you enjoyed this review and found it helpful.
If you have the time I'd suggest taking a look at the Wealthy Affiliate training program. As mentioned, I make a living online mostly doing affiliate marketing. This program will teach you how to do it and will even provide the tools needed. I joined back in 2015 when I got started and am still a member to this day.
Let me know if you have any comments or questions down below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can 🙂