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Legit Work From Home Jobs: Ways to Avoid Work From Home Scams [2021]

Are you looking for legit work from home jobs? Hunter beware of work from home scams.

The vast majority of “business opportunities” on the internet are actually scams, designed to take your money, steal your identity, or both.  

The Better Business Bureau warns: “To date, the Better Business Bureau has not encountered a legitimate work-at-home opportunity.” 

Think about that. Not a single one!

Since 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has investigated more than 70,000 complaints about work from home scams, costing unwitting consumers millions of dollars.  

These complaints are only the tip of a global iceberg of fraud. Most victims are too embarrassed to admit they’ve been taken and do not report it.

Chances are you have come across or have even been tempted by one of these pitches. Keep reading to find out the most common scams, tips to protect yourself, and what legit work from home jobs you can find.

Types of Work From Home Scams

If you're a mother, you may be looking for employment that's outside the norm. You need something that works for your busy lifestyle, so you are prepared to think outside the box, and scammers know this. They are ready to take advantage of your eagerness to find alternative employment.

The gig economy and work-from-home economy are still relatively new. Inexperience in searching for legit work from home jobs make most people susceptible to the sea of work from home scams.

Here are some of the most common work from home scams people fall for:

  • Make easy money by re-shipping packages from your home
  • Become a mystery shopper 
  • Make money at home stuffing envelopes 
  • Get started in data entry (for a fee)
  • Make money by assembling our product in the comfort of your home
  • Independent sales consultant (bad MLM)
  • Billing that requires you to pay for your own equipment with a promise of reimbursement
  • Business training that promises instant success

There are legitimate billing jobs that pay well, and even some pretty legit MLMs, but again scammers know this and take advantage of their desirability. If the job posting seems too good to be true, it probably is

Red Flags and Tips to Avoid Work From Home Scams

Once you know the red flags, it’s easy to spot a work from home scam. Here is what to look out for:

1) Poor Job Posting

If the job description seems overly simple or lacks detail, this could be a red flag. The absence of information about what the job requires is often a bad sign. Promises of quick and easy hiring or fast money are also possible signals of a work from home scam.

 2) You’re Asked to Provide Personal Information

Many work from home scammers are just trying to obtain your personal and financial information so they can either empty your bank account or steal your identity. If the company asks for specific personal information such as full name, social security number, or banking information, you should be very skeptical. 

Sure, they may need this information at some point if they’re withholding taxes or need to facilitate a direct deposit. But this needs to be done after you have established a working relationship. If they are asking for this information up-front as part of the application process, then it may just be a phishing expedition looking to steal your data.

3) Sketchy Applications and Interviews

Another thing to look for is an application and interview process that seems of questionable integrity. For instance, if you are going to apply for a work from home job, you still need to go through a traditional hiring process that includes an application and interview stage.

If the person is willing to hire you after a single email (or worse, a text exchange) then the business is either really desperate for employees or they are not legitimate. If they don’t wish to interview you remotely (through Skype or Facetime) then you should have some red flags go up about the legitimacy of the project you are signing onto.

4) Money Required Upfront 

Businesses that want you to pay them upfront for the prospect of working for them should be your big tip-off that the company is not legit. Now, they will never phrase it that directly, but ultimately that’s what they are doing. 

If you have to pay the company for “special equipment” or other goods for your job, then you have every right to be skeptical. 

5) We’re Sending You a Check

Another popular scam is that you have to purchase goods or products for the job, but they will provide you with the money upfront. This is the method scammers use to gain trust. 

It works like this: Let’s say they send you a check for $1000 for a product that costs $200. They tell you to buy the product, deposit the check, and send them the $800 difference. If you do this, chances are the check will bounce as soon as you send them the money. Now you are out $800 (and the associated fees for the bounced check).

6) Do Your Research

A little research goes a long way. For instance, check with the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission to see if they have any complaints filed against them. Do a general internet search for information about the company. You would be surprised at how many people skip this step, often because scammers instill a sense of false urgency with their “job offer.”

You can also ask for references. A business that is “above board” will provide you with these if you ask. But don’t neglect to follow up by checking with any references that are provided. 

There are a variety of websites that provide reviews of companies by employees. Glassdoor is one of the best known and most popular of these. See what the people who work for the company have to say before you make any commitments.

7) Keep an Eye on Your Credit

If you get scammed for money, then you will probably never get it back. Some scammers go as far as stealing banking information or your identity. Needless to say, this can add up to big problems for you.

Online job seekers, and everyone else for that matter, should keep an eye on their credit report. Using a credit report service to alert you to abnormal activity is helpful for busy moms.

8) Report Scams

You may come across work from home scams during your search for legit work from home jobs. Or sadly, you may have fallen victim to a work from home scam. 

Be sure to report the potential scam to protect others from falling prey to these scam artists. You can report the fraud to the BBB Scam Tracker. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission here, or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Taking action can help protect countless other people just like you.

9) The Job Is Too Good to Be True

Say it with us, if the job sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We can't seem to say this enough. Too often job seekers want to kick themselves for ignoring red flags.

This may seem pessimistic, but you have that subconscious sick feeling for a reason. Go with your gut.

If you've never heard of a company and can't find their web or social media presence, what is this telling you? If you have to justify odd behavior, overly generous benefits, or amazing pay it may be time to look for another job listing.  

Be sure to use more than one of our above tips to help guide you to your future online job. Some scams are intricate, so caution is always warranted.

Legit Work From Home Jobs for Moms

Legitimate work from home jobs for moms are out there, but being a mom has little to do with it. There are thousands of other people in the workforce similar to you, looking for convenience, flexibility, and income.

You may have even thought about creating your own startup. In today's unsure economy, that is a risky venture. You would need capital for the initial investment and a strong business plan to get it going.

There is no guarantee of success. 

A reputable online job website like MotherWorks is the best way for women looking for legit work from home jobs and to earn money quickly.

Whether you are a single mom, have been laid off, or are seeking extra income to help support your family, you want money now. Many online work-from-home jobs pay by the gig or weekly.

Here is a list of some of the most readily available legit work from home jobs you may be interested in:

1) Freelance Writing

There are many forms of freelance writing, from ghostwriting novels to SEO web posts. If you are grammar savvy, you may also find gigs for editing.  

Search remote freelance writing positions.

2) Customer Service

Many companies need customer service reps for online chat or telephone. Working as an online chat provider is great for moms with littles toddling about at home. The customer is none the wiser, and you can make income without shelling out big bucks for child care. 

3) Data Entry

There are many opportunities for data entry and a combination of customer service/data entry. These jobs often do not require previous experience. Just bring your manners and delightful personality for a money-making one-two punch.

If you are interested in pursuing a data entry position, you can come up to speed on requirements, qualifications and pay by reading our complete guide to data entry jobs from home.

4) Virtual Assistant

The duties of a virtual assistant may vary. In general, your tasks will include answering emails, scheduling meetings, and making travel arrangements. Other responsibilities may include customer service, market research, and creating presentations.

If you want to work as a virtual assistant, you will need good communication skills and personal drive, and enjoy working independently.

Even More Work From Home Jobs

There are other legit work from home jobs that will require some form of previous experience or certification. Some certifications are easily acquired at no, or very little, cost while others are more intensive. These types of work from home jobs are great for women looking for alternative employment after having children, looking for a second career in their field, or are looking for a pay lift.

Check out these remote jobs for something that may benefit you:

You can explore dozens of other work from home jobs in our list of 39 flexible jobs for moms.

Final Thoughts on Legit Work From Home Jobs

Aside from starting your own business, the safest way to avoid work from home scams is by working for a reputable company in a legitimate remote job, like the ones you’ll find on MotherWorks. If you're searching for ideas of even more legit work from home jobs check out our post on work from home jobs you might not have heard about.

We are confident you can find something that suits your lifestyle and skills at MotherWorks

And if you are still feeling unsure about putting yourself out there for a new career, (momma we get it), try using a resume-writing service. We recommend TopResume for a free resume review to evaluate the layout and content of your resume. Their resume experts will give you personalized recommendations on how to make your resume stronger.

We know change can be scary, but a new career can bring you flexibility, financial freedom, and the outlet you need for a better life. You deserve this momma, and we at MotherWorks are here to support you.