5 Work at Home Jobs You Want to Avoid (and 7 Legit Alternatives)

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Want to make $10,000 a month from the comforts of your own home? Call for immediate consideration; no experience required!

Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, there are tons of shady companies that prey on those individuals looking for a more flexible work arrangement through these deceptive advertisements. They know that when times get tough, job seekers are sometimes vulnerable and willing to do whatever it takes to earn cash. And what better way to do so than with a job opportunity that requires minimal effort?

Easier said than done and if the opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Here are some of the most popular work at home scams:

1. Typist

Can you crank out the words on a computer screen at lightning fast speed? If so, you may be tempted to give a telecommuting opportunity a shot. But proceed with caution because there’s usually some form of deposit required. And once you’re granted access to the job dashboard, you won’t ever qualify because the randoms surveys that are used to screen you for the opportunities will serve as barriers to entry.

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2. ‘Smart’ Shopping with E-commerce

Wouldn’t it be great to save thousands of dollars on common household goods simply by shopping on a website made just for you and instructing friends to do the same? That’s the exact pitch E-commerce multi-level-marketing companies use to draw you in. All you have to do is make a one-time investment.

And they even encourage you to recruit others to join the movement. The only problem is when it’s time to collect commissions (if you’re lucky enough to convince others to bite the bait), there’s a catch or management has disappeared into thin air.

Sadly, I know quite a few individuals who fell victim to this scam and all they could do is file a grievance with the FTC and blast the company through online reviews.

3. Envelope Stuffers

Pay a fee for an envelope stuffer kit, which will arrive in the mail, and you’re on your way to making a handsome living. If only it were that simple, but it’s not. And when the starter kit gets lost in the mail and never makes its way to your mailbox, you’ll quickly realize that this was simply a scam to get your “deposit” and run.

4. Medical Billing and Coding

Through this work at home opportunity, anyone willing to pay a fee for training can become an insurance claims processor in record time. But there’s only one problem: the only person psyched about your service will be you, no matter how closely you follow the “formula for success.” And good luck getting a refund.

5. “In-House” Check Cashing

Instead of visiting their financial institution or the local check cashing business, these scammers convince you to use your account in return for a commission once you return the principle.

Sounds enticing if you’re financially strapped and need to earn some quick cash, until you discover the check(s) are fraudulent and are now on the hook for the stolen funds.

How to Spot a Work at Home Scam

Wondering if that work at home position is truly the opportunity of a lifetime or a nightmare waiting to happen? Here are some flags to be on the lookout for:

  • Mandatory deposits. No legit employment opportunity will ask you to invest in the company, whether it be for a starter kit, training or processing fee, to get started. And if they request your bank account or credit card information, chances are you’re dealing with a con-artist, and not a prospective employer.
  • Low barriers to entry. If the advertisement indicates the position is a one-sized-fits-all deal with enormous earning potential, that’s another sign it’s a scam. Think of it this way: if the company really delivered on their promise, we’d all be kicking in their door to get a piece of the pie.
  • Poor online ratings. Did you find a failing grade for the company in question on  the BBB’s website or tons of negative reviews on RipoffReport.com? Flee while you can.
  • Minimal screening. Have you ever landed a lucrative position that was easy as pie from a complete stranger without any form of screening? Me neither.
  • “Start today.” Unless you’re being hired as a freelancer or independent contractor, there’s a slim chance any legit work at home job will offer a same day start. Even if they’re pressed to fill the position, there are administrative tasks that must be completed before they can officially bring you on as an employee.

Legitimate Alternatives

Here are some legit work at home opportunities to consider:

  • Call center representative
  • Travel agent
  • Teacher for virtual school
  • Writer or editor
  • Tech support specialist
  • Transcriptionist
  • Virtual assistant

There are several legit work at home jobs out there, but there’s a strong possibility the hiring company won’t be broadcasting the position to the world. You’ll have to dig deep to locate the lucrative opportunities.

A final thought: reputable companies almost always give the best candidates time to make a decision after extending an offer.

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