How To Spot Work From Home Job Scams And Avoid Them At All Costs


You probably see work from home job scams all the time. Scroll to the comment section of any popular article and you’ll see “Work from home and make $1,000,000 in the first 5 minutes!” Or, “Do nothing all day and make $5,000!”


Sadly, many of these work from home jobs are actually scams.

Now, this doesn’t mean that every online job is a scam.

There are many, many legitimate work from home jobs. Many of them are great and allow you to work from home, earn a good living, be your own boss, and more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24% of employed people did some or all of their work at home in 2015. This number is growing, and it doesn’t even include self-employed people! In fact, according to Forbes, one in five Americans work from home, and this is a statistic from 2013. I’m sure this number has grown significantly in the past 4 years.

However, you should always be careful because there are probably 10 work from home job scams for every legitimate one.

Related posts about legitimate work from home jobs:

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Scammers know that many people would love to work from home, so they prey on this very alluring fact.

Here are my tips on avoiding work from home job scams:

Is the company promising you the world?

If a company is making outlandish promises without mentioning any real logistics of the job, then there is a possibility that it’s a scam.

If it sounds too good to be true, then it might be.

For example, in the comments I mentioned above: “Work from home and make $1,000,000 in the first 5 minutes!” Or, “Do nothing all day and make $5,000!”

Those both are 99.99999999% likely to be scams.

If there is absolutely no work or very little work required from you, then these are probably work from home job scams.

Possible work from home job scams and jobs that promise too much include:

  1. Stuffing envelopes – I’ve seen “companies” say that they pay $10 per envelope stuffed. Just think to yourself: Why would a company EVER pay that much money for a person to stuff an envelope?

  2. Traveling the world for life for free – I’ve seen “companies” offer to foot the bill for a round the world trip that lasts for years, and in exchange, you have to do… NOTHING. This definitely sounds too good to be true. Why would a company want to do that?

  3. Building craft toys – This is a scam in which “companies” offer to pay you large sums of money for building toys at home. Just think to yourself: Why wouldn’t this company have their own factory?

Related: 17 Legitimate and Best Online Jobs

Most work from home job scams ask for a fee.

Many work from home job scams require you to pay an upfront fee to join their program, for your training, and so on. However, this is how these scams makes their money – by asking you to pay an upfront fee! And, most of the things you buy end up being a waste of money.

Now, this doesn’t mean that every single company that asks you to pay money upfront is a scam. Most legitimate businesses will require that you pay something, because no business runs for free.

However, you should be smart about what you are paying for.

Related: 15 Of My Best Working From Home Tips So You Can Succeed

Are they asking you to go to PayPal to pay for something?

To go along with the above, a company may ask you to pay for something via PayPal in order to start with their company. To make it “easier” for you, they may even include a PayPal link in the email they sent you.

The PayPal scam is something I receive almost every day. Since I regularly deal with PayPal for my business, these are the types of scams I truly hate. They are also looking more and more authentic, so I’m sure there are plenty of people falling for PayPal email scams.

This scam asks you to click on a link that will supposedly take you to PayPal’s website.

Except, the link isn’t actually to PayPal’s website. It’s usually to a website that looks VERY much like PayPal’s. However, it’s actually a scammer who is trying to get your username and password so that they can drain your PayPal account.

Here’s how you can protect yourself against this PayPal scam:

  1. Never click on a link that you are questioning. Instead, head on over to PayPal yourself and log in.

  2. Check the sender’s email. In some cases, scammers may cloak their email address to look like it’s coming straight from PayPal, so this may not be enough. However, the email address is often something that is obviously fake, and that will be your first clue.

Related: Phone Scams: The Best Tips To Avoid Becoming A Victim

How easy is the interview process?

When I was in college, I tried finding a nanny job on the side of my full-time job so that I could earn extra money.

I found someone online, and we had several chats over email. They offered to pay me well, but then I received an email asking for a ton of unnecessary information. They asked for my social security number, my bank account information, and more.

I thought that was very odd. We had never met, the interview process was too easy, and they definitely did not need that information. They even offered to pay me more money as long as I gave them my personal information. I finally called them out on their email scam, and I never heard back from them.

These work from home job scams happen when you apply for a job and then the hiring manager tells you that you have the job with little effort required from you. There are no interviews (or the interviews are very easy), the job supposedly pays well, has great benefits, and so on.

That’s when they get you. After luring you in, they ask for a ton of personal information that is supposedly used to fill out your employee paperwork, set up direct deposit, and so on. While many jobs do need certain information, if you easily get a job that seems too good to be true, then you should be very wary of any information that you give to them. At least talk to the person and do your research on whether or not the position is real.

Do you remember signing up?

Some work from home job scams are just there to take your information. If you don’t remember signing up for the company, definitely ignore their emails and don’t click on anything!

These work from home job scams are hoping that you will just hand over your information without thinking. They know that some people have been looking for jobs for a long time and that some people will do anything to have a job – and that’s when they take advantage of you.

If the company contacts you and you didn’t contact them, then you should be wary of what they are offering you.

Crazy large checks come from work from home job scams.

Recently, I was on Facebook and a person in a financial group asked if something they were doing was a scam. They had received a $3,000 check from a “mystery shopping” company. The company asked this person to cash the check and then forward the next mystery shopper $1,500, meaning she would be able to keep the other $1,500.

This is a complete scam. No mystery shopping company is going to pay you $1,500 to cash a check for them.

Mystery shopping can be a fun way to make extra money, but it’s definitely not a way to get rich quick. The average mystery shopping company only pays around $3 to $100. And, the higher the amount you make, the more work you’ll have to do.

How to find legitimate work from home jobs.

To sort through the scams and find legitimate ones, you should always make sure to research the company.

If you are afraid of falling for work from home job scams, you should do things such as:

  1. Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if the company is real.

  2. Research the company online to see if there are any mentions of it being a scam. I like to type in “Company name + Scam” into a search engine and see what pops up.

  3. Always be careful if the company asks you to pay money.

  4. Before you give out any personal information, such as your social security number, you should make sure it’s a legitimate job.

  5. Search the Federal Trade Commission and see if they have any press releases or articles about work from home job scams that they may have found.

  6. Never click on any links or download anything in a suspicious email.

And, most of all, trust your gut! If you feel too weary of something, then it’s probably best to move on and find another opportunity.

Here are some legitimate work from home jobs.

After reading all of the above, you are now ready to find a REAL work from home job.

There are many legitimate work from home jobs, such as:

  1. Creating a blog – I run Making Sense of Cents and I can honestly say that blogging is great. It allows me to earn $100,000 a month, travel full-time, and be very happy. While it is tough at times and there is a lot to learn, those who stick with it may be able to build a great business. Please check out my free blogging course here.

  2. Selling on Amazon – Selling on Amazon can be an interesting way to earn money from home. Learn more at How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA.

  3. Becoming a virtual assistant – Virtual assistant tasks may include social media management, formatting and editing blog posts, scheduling appointments or travel, email management, and more. Basically, you can get paid to do any task that needs to be done in someone’s business but doesn’t need to be done by them. Learn more at Make Money Online as a Virtual Assistant.

  4. Making money as a grammar nut by proofreading – In 2014, Caitlin made slightly over $43,000 as a freelance proofreader, while also going on several fun vacations. Learn more at Make Money Proofreading By Becoming A Freelance Proofreader.

  5. Bookkeeping even if you have no experience – Yes, you can start your own bookkeeping business, and you don’t have to be an accountant or have any previous experience! Learn more at Make Money At Home By Becoming A Bookkeeper.

  6. Using your voice as a voice over actor – A voice over actor is the person you hear but rarely see on YouTube videos, radio ads, explainer videos, corporate narration, documentaries, e-learning courses, audiobooks, TV commercials, video games, movies, and cartoons. Learn more at How To Become A Voice Over Actor And Work From Anywhere.

  7. Creating an ebook – Abby made over $110,000 from sales of digital products (such as eBooks) in 2015, and she crushed that in 2016 with over $400,000 in sales. She started 4 years ago knowing nothing about blogging and now makes six figures a year, due in large part to her eBooks. She is now teaching others the process she uses to write and launch profitable eBooks, and you guys, it is genius! Learn more at How To Create A Profitable Ebook With Abby Lawson.

  8. Starting a successful freelance writing career – A freelance writer is someone who writes for a number of different clients such as websites, blogs, magazines, and more. They don’t work for one specific company, rather they work for themselves and contract out their writing. Learn more at How I Earn $200,000+ Writing Online Content.

  9. Completing surveys – Survey companies I recommend include Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, VIP Voice, Pinecone Research, and Harris Poll Online. They’re free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. It’s best to sign up for as many as you can to receive the most surveys and make the most money.

As you can see, there are many great online jobs from home that anyone can start doing. Remember, though, they all require work, and none of them are get rich quick schemes.

Have you ever come across any work from home job scams? What legitimate work from home jobs do you do?

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