With the steadily rising cost of childcare and the generally sad state of the economy, working from home seems like a great way to bring in some extra income. While there are some legitimate opportunities out there, there are also an exorbitant number of scams whose proprietors are simply looking to lie, cheat, and steal their way to a few extra dollars at your expense. Do not become a victim of fraudulent work from home opportunities. The following guide will help you distinguish which home based opportunities are real and which should be avoided.

What is a work-at-home job and what will you need to do?

A work-from-home job opportunity is any job that can be performed from the comfort of your home or home office. The types of opportunities available vary greatly but some common jobs include; at-home daycare provider, virtual assistant, some writing positions, customer service representative and MLM (multi-level marketing) style businesses like Avon or MaryKay. The amount of time and effort required is also widely varied and depends greatly on how much money you are trying to make.

 

How to tell the difference between a scam and a legitimate opportunity

  • Avoid companies that make claims of huge amounts of money in short periods of time. A company that guarantees $10,000 in 14 days is probably a scam and you should run the other way!
  • Do some research on the company. The internet is a wealth of information and can assist you in determining if an opportunity is legit. When people get scammed they often want to shout it from the rooftops and are likely to turn to the internet to share their experience. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the company. Additionally sites like Yelp! allow dissatisfied clients to post in depth reviews of businesses.
  • Look for solid contact information. Any company that allows its employees to work from home should have multiple methods of contact listed including email addresses, phone numbers, and a mailing address. If contact information consists of only an email address you need to be cautious.
  • Do not search for work at home opportunities by simply Googling “work-from-home jobs”. Most of the sites you will encounter are scams. Try looking for work at home opportunities through a businesses’ specific website.
  • Never give out personal financial information for receipt of payment. Always use a secured payment service such as PayPal.
  • Avoid paying money up front. Many scams include “startup fees”. This is huge red flag. Work from home opportunities should operate just like any other job and legitimate offers often do not include large fees. Some exceptions are reputable companies like MaryKay who require you to purchase your own inventory.

It is important for consumers to be aware of potential scams. Legitimate opportunities are out there, it just takes a bit research to weed them out. Take the time to check out any work-from-home opportunities before you invest or commit to them.

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