Ask an Expert: Are There Any Legitimate Work From Home Jobs?

scamAn AOL reader asks: Are there any legitimate work from home jobs? They all seem to be a scam.

We spoke to Susan P. Joyce, owner of Job-Hunt, an award-winning employment portal, about work-at-home opportunities and job scams. According to Joyce, "there are legitimate work from home jobs, however, job seekers need to do some digging to find the legitimate jobs, and then it's safest to verify that the job is real before turning over a Social Security number or other sensitive personal information." Here are her recommendations for sourcing a work-at-home job:

  1. Turn a conventional job into a work from home job.

    As the employer gets to know and trust the employee, portions of the employee's duties may be accomplished from home. So, a conventional job goes, at least partially, virtual.

  2. Use websites for "freelancing" (,, etc.).

    These sites offer the ability for someone seeking work to apply for, or bid on, projects that employers, or people needing a project to be completed, post. These projects are usually short-term -- from a few hours to a few weeks -- but many people are successful at least supplementing their regular income with these jobs.

  3. Check out websites catering to job seekers and employers looking for "virtual" connections.

    Some employers, like the JetBlue airline, are known for having employees work from home. So are companies like Avon and Mary Kay. Some websites, such as, list "telecommuting" jobs.

  4. Job boards can also offer connection to virtual jobs.

    For example, is a site that aggregates jobs only from employer websites. So job seekers can search on their usual keywords (job title, skills) and add the words "telecommute," "telecommuting," and "virtual" to those regular search terms to find the work-from-home jobs.

  5. Try

    Employers (and scammers!) list their opportunities under the "jobs" or the "gigs" headings on the relevant local Craigslist site.Extreme caution is encouraged using craigslist and other similar sites because scammers love to use them.

    I always recommend confirming that the employer is legitimate before applying or providing any confidential information like a Social Security number.

Safety tips
  • Check to find the employer in the telephone business listings (online yellow pages like for the appropriate address.
  • If a listing is found for the employer, call them to confirm that the job is real.
  • Be VERY wary of a job with few requirements (skills, time, effort) but a big payoff.
  • Avoid a job that requires an up-front investment to buy in.
  • Avon and Mary Kay may require purchase of samples or minimum inventory levels, and that may be OK -- if you are the kind of person who can successfully sell those products.

Your Turn: Have a job-related question you want to ask the expert?

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