How to Avoid Work-from-Home Scams


Let’s face it: Working from home is the wave of the future. Every day, new improvements in technology are making it easier and easier to find quality work-from-home jobs. Still, there are plenty of work-from-home jobs that often seem too good to be true – usually because they are just that. Here, we give you tips on how to identify and avoid work-from-home scams that can land you in financial trouble.

1. Trust your gut

Never underestimate the power of your intuition. If a work-from-home job seems too good to be true, it is probably because it is. Question why the company’s offer sounds so good. If it is paying you so much, how will it make money? Does the company insist that it is “legitimate”? Does the recruiter seem desperate for you to sign up, even though you do not have any specific qualifications that make you a perfect fit for the job? 

Using your common sense and trusting your gut is key in avoiding a work-from-home scam. If a job posting does not pass this test, skip it. If it does, keep on reading, because work-from-home scams are sometimes tricky to identify on your gut instincts alone.

If you’re struggling with debt, you may be particularly vulnerable to scams, as your intuition may be dulled by your stress and anxiety. In these cases, resist the urge to seek out an “easy fix” for your debt issue. Remember that if a certain offering sounds too good to be true, then it almost certainly is. Instead, turn to a reputable company or agency – some of the best debt consolidation programs out there will not actively solicit your business, so any bad actor that harasses you to sign up for a service or program is unlikely to be legitimate.

2. Learn to identify the hallmarks of a scam

What are the key signs of a work-from-home scam? Here are a few red flags to keep in mind as you evaluate potential opportunities:

  • You rarely interact with a real person.

Only interacting via email and never speaking with a real person is a red flag. Few legitimate companies hire without thoroughly vetting candidates.

  • You do not see a corporate email address.

Is all the correspondence coming from an email account such as Gmail or Yahoo? This could mean the company is not legitimate or perhaps does not even exist.

  • The job description is vague.

If you read the job description and still do not know what the job entails, other than that you will make lots of money, this is a red flag. Most legitimate companies include detailed information about what the position is and who they are looking to hire.

  • The pay seems too good to be true or the company promises that you will “get rich quick.”

Does the company promise tons of money for little work? That is very likely to be a scam and you should at the very least ask lots of questions about how the business could be profitable if they plan to pay you so much for so little. 

  • You cannot locate a website, social media pages, online reviews, or other social proof.

If you are unable to find any information about the company and what it does, that is not a good sign. Until you are comfortable with what the business does and how it makes money, steer clear.

3. Be wary of jobs that require you to front cash

Does the work-from-home “opportunity” require you to pay start-up costs of the business? A legitimate business will pay for its start-up costs. This can also come in the form of requiring the employee to pay for his or her training. Most employers will pay to train their employees; be wary of any that do not.

The bottom line is that you should scrutinize – or decline – any job opportunity that requires you to cut a check, provide bank account numbers, or otherwise offer up personal assets in exchange for hire. 

4. Do your research

Before you accept any work-from-home job, make sure you have done your research on the company and the job. In our digital age, it is simple to research companies online. Sites like, the Better Business Bureau and Glassdoor offer insights into what it is like to work for a company. Spend a few hours going through these sites to make the call whether the company and the position being offered are legitimate.

Take it one step further and reach out to a few employees or former employees. Use your judgment because not every employee is going to be honest (whether it is a current employee trying to recruit you or a disgruntled former employee trying to steer you away from a legitimate job because they are bitter).

Using your judgment

With a combination of your judgment and the many resources available to you to research whether a work-from-home job is legitimate, hopefully, you will be able to make the right call and avoid a scam.