The popularity of 'Work From Home' is growing by the hour. The number of scams related to this phenomenon is expanding much faster. Some independent investigators declare that only 1 out of 42 offers is legit. The estimate is ballpark; the number is very dynamic and heading unfortunately to even higher ratio. So, what do we think about Work From Home?

Question number 1: do I want to work from home?

Why not? If I have some extra time, I can make some extra income. And with the current unemployment rate, there are lot of us with too much extra time and no income whatsoever.

Question number 2: what can I do working from home?

Lot of things. Here are some popular position, not requiring commute to the office: Data Entry, Legal or Medical Transcription, Virtual Assistant, Customer Service Rep, Freelance Writer, Proofreader, Editor, Translator, Telemarketer, Online Tutor, and the list can go for miles. Plus, selling, re-selling, trading, retailing, and lately doing some mysterious stuff on Internet.

Question number 3: how I find Work From Home offers?

They will find you themselves. They are everywhere. Their ads will not necessarily say anything about employment or about your home as a workspace. You will be drawn to exciting headlines, looking like they are worth reading: "Wal-Mart worker makes more than the CEO..." , "Want to take an exotic vacation?", "Get rid of your debts!", "Bye-bye, boss", "A great way to enjoy extra time and more freedom!”, “Let us give you a piece of mind", "Be in control of your life!". You start reading, and here it is – turns to be a Work From Home offer. By the time you realize this, you've read a half, and, unless you are an absolute skeptic, you keep reading.

Question number 4: how I know if it is a scam?

You never know for sure. Trust your intuition and check whatever you can. Use common sense.
- If they offer $847.50 per hour, stop reading. 100K+ a year – make some calculations and probably quit also. With more realistic compensation, think longer, but there is no guarantee, that you are dealing with a real job offer and not with a slightly smarter scam.
- If they require at least some skills – keep reading. If they ask for a degree or request your resume and work experience – start having a good feeling. If, on the contrary, “no skills required”, get very suspicious. Specifically, “no computer skills” – you are already on the computer, apparently you know where the power switch is, and how to get on Internet, you are most likely overqualified, and “they” are not serious.
- “As seen on TV” can be reassuring in case you personally have seen it on TV and believe this is exactly what you’ve seen.
- Big brand names are safer to deal with, though, as we see in our feature complaints, popular offers running under Google name have nothing to do with Google. and were already sued for operating a fraudulent work-at-home scheme. Speaking of law suits, there were several cases of Work From Home companies suing employees for breach of contract or vice versa, employees suing the company for the same exact thing. Something obviously went wrong there, but at least you know that the business is real and not a total scam.
- The biggest red flag is “pay upfront” feature. That’s when you should stop reading the majority of Work At Home ads. If they want you to pay for access to data or for training materials, or for starter kit, that is all they want. The price is rather merciful (“for less than your last trip to Starbucks” as they say), but their access to your credit card will be costly. They will have a blast, digging into your account. But incidentally, if you’ll end up being harassed with collection agencies, that is a solid proof that the company is real.
- Believe it or not, “get paid upfront” is not safe either. Don’t be too excited if they offer you advance pay. It’s a known trick – 1) they send you a check as a part of your future fist pay, 2) you deposit it to your bank, 3) it takes time to verify and clear the check, 4) the con artists contact you again to report a slight error in the amount and ask you to send a really small portion of the payment back, 5) if you fall for it – they got your bank account attributes, 6) if you realized the fraud and did not send them your check, their fake check will bounce anyway.

Question number 5: what am I risking if I sign for Work @ Home offer?

Actually, not just money. Ever heard of "envelope stuffing" scheme? You will be asked to distribute the same ad, you've just received, asking people to send you money for information about working at home. As well as your sender, you don’t really offer any product or service, and you become a part of an illegal pyramid scheme. Now you could be prosecuted for fraud.

Back to Question number 1: do I want to work from home?