How to Steer Clear of Work-at-Home Scams

While millions of people dream about making money without leaving the comfort of home, it's also important to note how to avoid losing it too. While there are many legitimate ways to make money at home, there are some simple steps you can take to steer clear of the scams so your money and time aren't wasted.

1. Don't fall for envelope stuffing.

Since this old trick fools people every day, I decided to give it a try. I paid $20 to $50 a piece to buy several different starter kits, each promising me the opportunity to earn "up to $1,500 a week." I followed the instructions which directed me to mail flyers aimed at recruiting other people to stuff envelopes. No product or service to promote; just get them to agree to stuff the same envelopes. If they purchased the same kit, I'd receive a commission. I'm a pretty smart and resourceful girl, and yet I couldn't get this to pan out. Not a penny. Attempting to register people to stuff envelopes is the oldest work-at-home gimmick that fools people daily. Don't be one of them.

2. Beware of "no experience needed."

When an opportunity says you can make a boatload of money without any experience, a big red flag should pop into your head. There are very few, if any, honest money-making opportunities that don't require you to invest time, effort and skill. If it sounds too good to be true, you can bet that's almost certainly the case.

Do your research. Even though a work-at-home job posting may appear on a reputable website doesn't mean the money-making opportunity has been verified for legitimacy. Job boards and many work-at-home websites are rich in resources. Yet, because of the sheer volume of content, they often feature third-party advertisements and links that can't possibly be vetted for accuracy. You must do your own research and inject a decent dose of common sense to verify the validity of any opportunity you pursue.

3. Cost doesn't necessarily mean scam.

Just because a company requests a fee doesn't automatically mean it's a scam. Many legitimate home-based opportunities require a training or starter fee to get started, but you must do your due diligence to decide if it's right for you. In addition to seeing what pops up in search engine results, check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints about the company. Ask for references too.

4. Never send money before talking live to someone.

When there's no phone number on the website, but the company is offering you the chance to earn big bucks, stay away. You may be required to apply online first, which is perfectly acceptable, but you shouldn't open your wallet unless there's a live person who'll gladly answer your questions to about the opportunity. If your concerns are answered satisfactorily, then you may proceed.

5. Ask about money-back guarantees.

For websites that require a registration fee or for those selling an information packet or starter kit, find out how you'd go about getting a refund if you're not satisfied with the opportunity offered to you. If you can't get your money back, then be sure you're willing to take the risk of losing that money if the opportunity doesn't pan out. This means you shouldn't invest all of your savings on what may arguably be a risky home-based opportunity.

Next: 10 Part-Time Jobs You Can Do From Home >>

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