How to Research Work-at-Home Scams

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Work from home job postings are everywhere. There are listings for data entry jobs, research positions, multi-level marketing opportunities, and a variety of other ways to make a lot of money fast. In fact, there are so many of them that work at home schemes are on the National Consumers League's list of Top 10 Frauds.

Unfortunately, most of those positions aren't what most people would consider a "real" job or any kind of job at all. There are no benefits, no hourly wage or salary, only a promise of making money. Sometimes these opportunities are supposedly so lucrative that fees are charged to give you the listings, provide you information on getting started, or to set up your business.

The simple answer to the question of whether you should pay for work from home job listings, in a word, is no. Despite what the work at home ads and companies might promise you, legitimate employers pay you, not the other way around.

Typical Work at Home Scams

Review these typical work at home scams to research the type of opportunities that are legitimate before you waste time applying.

Too Good to Be True

Take a look at these sample work from home ads:

$1000 A Day From Home
Automated - No Sales
Cash Money Every Day
Get Paid Paid Daily via ATM

With this one, you don't have to do much other than go to an ATM machine to collect.

Work from Home Part Time
Earn $10K or more a month

This ad had a disclaimer in a tiny font at the bottom of the page which said there is risk involved and you might not do as well. The "might not do as well" part was repeated at least four times in the disclaimer.

If you think about it logically, the chances of making money doing a minimal amount work simply aren't high - other than, perhaps, for the people making money scamming others. Think twice before you click on anything that sounds too good to be true - it is.

Find Company Information

If you're still not sure — and remember, companies can be very creative about how they advertise their opportunities because they want you to think that the position is legitimate — there are places to research work-at-home companies.

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB)Enter the company name or the website into the Better Business Bureau search box to find out whether there have been complaints and whether the company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau. I entered the name of a company I was interested in and found there had been seven complaints, all of which were unresolved and discovered that the company's record was unsatisfactory.​
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The FTC provides information on commission actions. For example, operators of online malls that disguised themselves as legitimate business opportunities settled Federal Trade Commission charges that they were actually illegal pyramid schemes.

Finally, be wary and be careful. Despite the best efforts of computer systems and staff, it's hard for job sites to stop work-at-home scams from being posted. Posters are creative and sophisticated and are continually coming up with new ways to advertise their information.

Report a Scam

Have you been scammed or almost scammed? Here's how to report a scam, including where and how to report an employment scam.