But to give them a chance to redeem themselves, I would suggest you ask the company for a list of current employees or contractors who are using the software, and can speak to the experience they’ve had. I would hope and expect that if the company is legit, they’d be OK with that and give you a list of folks to talk to. If not, I’d say “nope, never mind.” I’d also ask how long those folks have worked there. If it’s less than six months, I’d steer clear for that reason as well. Any company with a super-high turnover has something going on that is probably not good.
PS – I’ve done a lot of work-at-home contracting for various companies, doing software development and customer service for specialized and expensive software products. I have yet to pay for any of it. On the contrary, those companies typically wanted to send me their own laptop, configured the way they wanted it configured, so that I didn’t accidentally introduce any viruses or unwanted software to the network. Cloud computing and internet access may have reduced that risk a little bit, but those options are also generally free. I’d want a REALLY good justification for why you have to pay for the software, and be reimbursed. To borrow a technical term from a friend, that sounds mighty “hinky” to me.