How to avoid work from home scams

Who doesn’t want to have a few work from home opportunities to choose from? Too bad there are quite a few scams out there you will need to filter through before you can find the real and legitimate work from home opportunities. The internet has become full of places to make money, but most of them are just junk and not worth your time.

We are here to help you figure out if that opportunity is just another work from home scam and how you can protect yourself. We also include over 100 real ways to earn money, though not all of them are done inside the home.

Here are some tips can help you spot and avoid work-at-home scams and earn a living from home.

If It’s Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

Many people want to work from home because of the flexibility and the image they can remain in the pajamas all day. Scammers know this and might email or advertise offers that provide paid benefits, lavish pay, and a short work week.

While some of these lucrative jobs do exist, you can almost always bet they will be a scam. To earn a high salary or enjoy a short work week, you oftentimes need to do it the traditional way through hard work and “paying your dues” by working in an office for the first few years before you can telecommute full-time.

And, working from home often means you are self-employed which means you are a 1099 contractor without benefits.

To determine if a work opportunity passes the “sniff test,” look for a company website and any additional online presence. Ask questions about the work day, benefits, and job opportunities. You should be able to have a real conversation with the business owner or company rep through email, phone, or Skype. If it’s a national company, the job opening should be on their website.

Don’t Provide Too Much Personal Information

Scams will also ask for a lot of your personal information like your name, social security number, and bank account information during the interview process. The only information you should provide is your email address, basic credentials, and your employment goals until the interview gets serious.

Before opening any attachments, you might want to make exchange several messages and research their website to determine if they are legitimate. If attachments like .ZIP files or other documents are in the email, scan the attachments for viruses that can attack your computer when opened.

Do not provide any personal information that can compromise your identity until after you are satisfied with the dialog so far and received a credible job offer.

Poor Communication and Sketchy Email Addresses

Just like you can tell a telemarketer phone call from a legitimate phone call, you should also be able to recognize an email scam from a legitimate offer. The obvious signs are if the email contains broken English, poor grammar, vague details, or is sent from a Gmail or Yahoo account.

Legitimate bloggers and other workers do communicate via Gmail because their company domain system might not be good. Their messages should contain links, logos, company letterhead, and they will sound knowledgeable.

Unless you already have an established online web presence or applied for work-at-home jobs, you should be cautious about receiving an email asking if you are interested in working from home. Even if you have been actively looking, you should examine each email carefully before committing to work online.

You Must Pay Money to Make Money

You might see companies offering you job leads, a guaranteed assignment, or limited-time offers only available to the first 100 enrollees, for example, if you pay a one-time fee or a recurring monthly fee.

The only time you should pay someone online is to take a course to improve your skills, that is backed with testimonials and legitimate online reviews. Plus, the course creator will also have a notable online presence. Usually, these paid courses will only show you how to get an online job by teaching you how to pitch, create an online portfolio, and the latest industry trends.

Basically, you should NEVER pay someone to get job leads or a starter kit. You don’t need that and it should be an immediate red flag.

You can pay for knowledge, not to get some “exclusive” rights to jobs.

Legitimate companies want to give you money, instead of taking your money.

Be Wary of Internet Ads and Infomercial Videos

Sponsored ads that might appear in your inbox or on search results might be fake. Back in the day, you might have received a message from somebody claiming they needed money sent to Nigeria to help their family. Today, scammers use similar tactics to play on the heartstrings of people looking to work at home.

Not every work-at-home site is legitimate. Check the website for depth, contact names and email addresses, testimonials, and they don’t have infomercial-like videos that show you Ferraris, mansions, and lavish vacations. The only person in the organization enjoying that quality of life is the person scamming you.

Where to Find a Legitimate Work-At-Home Job

So, where can you find a legitimate work-at-home job? Here are a few resources that can help you out:

  • You can pursue one of the many ways to make extra money that we put together. These income streams might start as a side job before you can gradually build an online presence and eventually generate a replaceable income. There are quite a few work from home jobs, but not all of them.
  • FlexJobs is a paid job board that screens employers and only offer legitimate postings. Not every job is 100% work-at-home, but, it’s nice to know you can work for regional and national companies that can eventually let you work full-time from home.
  • If you want to freelance online, Upwork is one of larger websites and can be a good option if you don’t have success pitching to individual clients. It’s free to join, but, you still need to look at for scams. To avoid scams, only submit proposals for jobs that are with a client with a “Verified Payment Method” or positive reviews.
  • Start a Blog and include a “Work With Me” page that provides your contact information where people can contact you for paid work. Use the tips to help filter the legitimate inquiries from the scams.


While some estimates are 95% of all work-at-home offers are scams, it can sometimes be difficult to sort the legitimate opportunities from the phonies. These tips and a little common sense can help you make money from home. Also, remember that home-based jobs can require just as much patience and hard work as a regular job, not a “get rich quick” opportunity.

Want Some Ideas to Make More Money? How About 101?

We put together an awesome list of real, reliable, and awesome ways to make extra money. These aren’t just for those looking to make money online, but we cover so many different areas. You just need to use your imagination and start earning money as quickly as today!

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One Comment

  1. I just remembered one of my clients’ advice about work from home jobs: Always clarify with your prospective client if they’re giving you a test that’s paid. Like writing and data entry jobs for example, if you do samples for them without confirmation that they’ll pay you back, it’s possible that they really intend to steal your work.