In your quest to find legitimate work-from-home jobs, you are more than likely going to run across a scam or two. When you know how to properly research and vet opportunities, you are less likely to be taken by one of these scoundrels. Here are a few signs that will give you some insight into the legitimacy of an opportunity.
How to Tell if a Job is Legitimate
1. There is Positive Feedback in WAH Communities
Research is going to be a lifesaver when it comes to finding a work-at-home job. Luckily, we have an endless amount of free information available to us on the internet. And thousands of people who have shared their experiences openly.
Some of my favorite places to find feedback – good or bad – on a potential job are blogs like mine, the Better Business Bureau and Glassdoor. One thing to remember: unhappy people are more likely leave reviews than happy people. Pay close attention to what any feedback is really saying. If the dissatisfaction was due to a scheduling conflict, that’s not necessarily a reason for you to pass up a job. The schedule may be perfect for you. If it was a problem with a supervisor, keep in mind most of these companies have dozens and dozens of supervisors. What’s the likelihood you will get the same one? Some people are just impossible to please. Read reviews but take them with a grain of salt.
And be cognizant of looking for any excuse not to apply to a job. If you are new to this process it can be easier to simply not move forward than to face uncertainty. If you really want to work from home, you are going to have to make the jump eventually. And sooner is better than later.
2. They are Transparent about Pay
Many companies do not make their pay structure available until after getting a contract, but most will at least give you a ballpark figure on what kind of pay you can expect and how you will be paid. Will it be weekly or biweekly? Will you be paid by direct deposit or PayPal? If things appear a little too elusive, that may be a red flag.
3. They are Transparent about the Hiring Process
One thing that should never be a mystery is the hiring process. Will you need to pass a test? Will you need to provide work samples? There are a few work-at-home opportunities that have a very extensive hiring procedure that can drag on for weeks or even months. Without that knowledge upfront, you are likely to drop out long before receiving an offer. And in the case of a scam, you may find out too late that the testing you participated in for free was only a means to get work done for free.
4. They are Transparent about the Work
One big sign of a scam is when you have no idea what you will be doing to get paid. Under no circumstances should you have to go through an application or training process before receiving information on the scope of work. It’s often a ruse to get you into a position where you can’t say “no.” And that no usually involves money.
5. They are Transparent about Who They Are
Whenever I come across a new website, the first thing I do is look for an address, phone number and email address. The next thing I look for are social media accounts. You must know who’s paying you. And you should double-check that information by performing a Google search, WhoIs lookup and BBB search. Some companies have multiple locations, but there should be a location listed.
6. It Should Pass the Smell Test
You know the old adage, “if it’s too good to be true it probably is.” If a job is promising big pay with little to no work, it’s highly unlikely. If those opportunities existed, wouldn’t we all be rich?
In addition to pay that outweighs the complexity of work that’s involved, a big red flag is unsolicited work offers. If an email arrives from a company you have never heard of for a job you never applied to run. The number of people looking for work at home far outweighs the number of jobs available. There is no need for a company to reach out to people that haven’t expressed interest to offer them a job. How would they have gotten your information anyway?
Also, there are a few big scammers running around right now offering people interviews by chat. This could be Facebook Messenger. It may be a Skype chat. This is a red flag. In many cases, I have heard these are high-pressure situations where the “interviewer” is offering an amazing job but you need to hand over your personal information NOW. Or, you need to pay some kind of fee NOW. Get out of there fast!
So, Where are the Legitimate Work-at-Home Jobs?
Below are some great companies we know to be legit:
1. Customer Service
These jobs will have you helping customers and clients via phone, chat or email. Typically, hard-wired internet service is required (no satellite or wi-fi). You may also need a noise-canceling headset. These work-from-home jobs typically pay in the range of $8 to $15 per hour.
- Wells Fargo
- Vivint Smart Home
- A Place for Mom
- American Express
- Enterprise Holdings
- ACTIVE Network
3. Tech Support
Stay-at-home jobs offering tech support often require some prior experience or education. These do tend to pay a little higher than standard customer service positions, however.
4. Healthcare Jobs
To the surprise of many, there are actually quite a few legit work from home healthcare jobs. Positions range from phone triage to technical writing and medical billing to transcription. And these are companies you are likely familiar with. These can also be online jobs that pay well and often offer employee benefits.
5. Education Jobs
Jobs from home in the education sector really run the gamut. Some may require a formal teaching degree and current certificate, others simply want a bachelor’s degree in any subject as is the case with many English tutoring jobs and test scoring.
- Connections Education
- Measurement, Inc
- Achieve Test Prep
6. Search Engine Evaluation
The online jobs in the search engine evaluation industry will have you doing quality assurance checks for search engines like Google or Bing. You will be checking search, ad or social media results for quality and relevancy. Many of my readers enjoy the work and flexibility that comes with it.
These are so many ways you can take surveys for money. Granted, these are not going to pay the bills. Many people enjoy them nonetheless. Many are a little sketchy and certainly a waste of your time. A few I know and trust.
FlexJobs is my favorite job board for finding legit work-at-home jobs. They research every listing on their site for legitimacy and flexible potential. You can apply with confidence. It’s a paid job board, but it’s so inexpensive. And, they offer a money-back guarantee. If you aren’t happy, you can get a refund.
Make Your Own Legit Work-at-Home Job
There are also some great ways to make money from home by creating your own job. In these positions, you are offering your skills to online businesses directly as opposed to going through a middleman like those positions above. This is often called freelancing.
Freelancing allows you to command a much larger hourly rate and you can dictate your schedule and working hours. Some of these can be really high-paying jobs! It’s a little more stressful than working for someone else in many cases, but it can also be well worth it!
Freelance writing may have you doing any kind of writing from blog posts to ebooks to online ads. It all depends on your area of expertise. Regardless, you need great research and grammar skills.
Glassdoor provides a recent median salary of around $53,000 per year for a full-time writer. I would say that’s inline with many freelance writers I know.
- Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners
- Where to Find Writing Jobs
- 200 Ways to Get Paid to Write
- 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success
Proofreading is often a step up from freelance writing. You need those same grammar and English skills but on a much more meticulous level. You don’t have an editor looking over your work here. You are the editor!
Glassdoor gives us an average base salary of around $36,000 per year. Obviously, with any of these, your workload will largely determine your income possibilities. If you work full-time, you can make more than working part-time.
- Online Proofreading Jobs for Beginners
- How can I get an editing job from home?
- Free proofreading webinar
Social Media Management
Most freelance social media managers are self-taught. They also tend to specialize in one particular platform such as Facebook or Pinterest. While you certainly can be a Jill-of-all-platforms, specializing often allows you to charge a higher rate and more in-depth, high-performing services.
Glassdoor says the average base salary for a social media manager is $54,000.
Virtual assistants can offer a wide range of skills from basic admin to project management. Your hourly rate will largely be dictated by how advanced your skillset is. Luckily, most online business skills can be learned online!
Glassdoor provides us with an average base pay of $22,000 per year. I would say this is on the lower end. Virtual assistants offering more specialized skills can easily charge upwards of $40 per hour or more.
- Skills Offerings for Entry-Level Virtual Assistants
- How to Become a Virtual Assistant
- Virtual Assistant Jobs
- In-demand Virtual Assistant Services
- Miranda Nahmias’ 5-day Client Challenge
Transcription is simply listening to an audio file and typing into text. These can be a great gig for those with fast fingers and great grammar skills. It does require attention to detail, however, as most companies have strict guidelines that need to be followed.
Glassdoor has an average base salary of around $26,000 per year. It can really depend on the type of transcription you are doing. Entry-level transcribers are often not paid well and the pay is often production-based. That means the faster and more accurate you type, the more you get paid. Also, if you move into more specialized arenas like medical transcription or legal transcription, you may get paid more.
Blogging isn’t an easy gig, but it’s one that I love. While many beginner bloggers never earn a dime, those with the perseverance and tenacity to stick with it can earn a nice income on their own terms. You can make money blogging through avenues like display ads, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, creating courses and eBooks and more.
Glassdoor has an average salary of $30,000. I’d venture to say those averages are based upon people working for other bloggers which can be a great way to make money as a blogger, too!
- Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners
- Beginner Blogger Brainstorming Series
- Blogger Networks
- Make Money with Affiliate Marketing
- How to Make Money Blogging
- Create and Go’s Six-Figure Blogger Course
Those are just a few legitimate work-at-home jobs to consider. And even if choosing to go out on your own as discussed in the latter part of this article, you should still follow the guidelines for smelling out a scam mentioned in the beginning. There are a lot of unscrupulous people out there. Protect yourself.
Published Dec 15, 2015. Updated July 17, 2018.