Work From Home Jobs: How to Avoid Scams and Finding Legitimate Jobs

The pandemic forced many people to work their regular jobs from their homes, and now that offices are opening again, many wish to continue working from home. For those wanting to continue to work from home or considering work from home for the flexibility it provides, it’s important to find legitimate work-from-home jobs while avoiding ones that are scams.

Avoiding Scams

An offer can often feel too good to be true. If it appears that way, it probably is true. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Do not pay money upfront. Legitimate jobs do not cost money to pursue. It is likely a scam if they ask for money ahead of a job opportunity.
  • Asking for debit or credit card information. Mystery shopping scams, in particular, have been known to ask for “payment” information to get started.
  • An offer occurs after simply filling out a Google form, and/or an interview was only done over chat—no phone call or video chat/interview.
  •  Be wary of pyramid schemes and multilevel marketing ventures — where earnings are based on recruiting others to join the company. They may be legit, but may also only benefit the entrepreneurs at the very top.

Warning Signs

  • A job ad claims that no skills or experience are required.
  • It offers high pay for little or no work.
  • A company promises that a business opportunity is surefire and will pay off quickly and easily.
  • You’re required to pay upfront for training, certifications, directories, or materials.

According to Yker Valerio, blogger and HR expert at Bonvivant Caffe, conducting research online can be one of the best ways to avoid falling for a job scam. Many false businesses have been reported, and it’s easy to find reviews of the bad ones. He also cautions to go one step beyond that.

“Besides online search, I discovered that some scammers use emails using a similar domain or a generic free email account. It’s vital to check the email address because it’s easy to spot fake ones,” he says. “Still, many people don’t pay attention to that detail and fall into these job scams.”

One of the largest job websites, Monster, lists tips for avoiding work-at-home scams.

Finding Legitimate Opportunities

Of course, there are legitimate work-from-home opportunities, and knowing how to find them is also important. There are a variety of sites that offer advice on how to find legitimate work-from-home jobs.

FlexJobs is one site for job seekers which can help find legitimate work-from-home jobs. They are one of the leading remote work job sites. There is a fee to join Flexjobs, ranging from $9.95 for shorter-term or $59.95 for their annual membership.

In a US News and World Report article from 2019, Ben Taylor, founder of HomeWorkingClub.com, a website for remote workers and freelancers, notes its best to have the right frame of mind during the process.

“There are hundreds of genuine work-from-home jobs out there, from entry-level positions in customer service and sales, all the way up to high-level corporate roles in companies such as Dell, American Express, and Philips—all of which are renowned for hiring remote workers,” Taylor says.

The problem is that “the legitimate opportunities are often lurking in plain sight alongside lots of scams and ‘get rich quick schemes,” Taylor explains.

Experts state there are several ways to determine whether a work-from-job is a legitimate one. These include:

  • When hunting, make sure to stick with reputable and trusted companies
  • If the company asks for personal information up front, that's a big red flag.
  • Stick with sites that specialize in these types of jobs like Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and FlexJobs.
  • Research the company and the job using such sites as Better Business Bureau and large job hunting sites. Google the company and/or the job poster.
  • Verify the company offering the job with your state consumer protection agency and the local Better Business Bureau area where the company is located.
  • Ask questions about the job, the pay, the responsibilities, and other details before committing to anything.

Richard Clews. Founder & ‘Chief Pants Officer' at PantsandSocks, which launched during the pandemic, notes that much of their work is being done remotely and by at-home workers. From an employer perspective, he offers companies and hiring managers advice on how to ensure they appear legitimate to potential workers.

“I think the most important thing you can do, is to communicate clearly what the requirements are and what type of individual you are looking for,” he says. “Highlighting communication and organizational skills is super important. Also, make sure you follow up with applicants as well in a timely fashion.”

Tasha Haynes, CPA, and MBA, is an accountant and mom who runs a blog called Making and Managing money, where she helps others determine real vs. legitimate work-from-home jobs. She says one of the important factors to consider is the method of approach used for the work opportunity.

If you are scrolling through social media and are influenced to reach out for more information on how they make money working from home – this should be a red flag. If some kind of emotional manipulation is recruiting you, this could be a multi-level marketing company.

“If you’re presented with a work-from-home opportunity through social media, you should always ask for the company name immediately and research it,” she says. “If it’s a multi-level marketing company, you can even ask them for their annual income disclosure statement and see for yourself the small percentage of people who are making money. I have fallen for a sales pitch or two just because they are so good at it!”

Finding an ideal work-from-home opportunity is possible, provided steps are taken to ensure the avoidance of scams. Unfortunately, there are many scams out there, and making sure to take steps to avoid those are important as well. With the proper leg work and research, there are work-from-home jobs with flexibility ready to be had.

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Featured Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.


Kelley Dukat is a freelance writer, photographer, and event planner currently based in the United States. She has spent the last year as a nomad traveling and house-sitting. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and previously served as a trade magazine editor. Her favorites include dog-friendly travel, road trips, and nomad life. She is currently working on a memoir and a series of personal essays.