The ability to recognize work at home scams is important to be sure you don't lose any money, or end up doing something illegal yourself. In many cases, simply using common sense is one of the best ways to avoid work at home scams; advertisements that claim you will make thousands of dollars by doing virtually nothing, for example, are simply too good to be true. Another important thing to remember is that a legitimate business will not force you to pay a fee to receive "potential opportunities," so if you need to pay anything in order to simply apply for the job, look elsewhere.
Work at home scams are quite common, especially on the Internet where anyone can create a web site and post an advertisement. Be discerning when reading job listings, even in classifieds sections in newspapers. If they promise a great deal of income for unskilled labor, or even income for a position for which a certification is usually required, such as medical coding and billing, it is likely a scam. Any advertisement that makes you call a 900-number, pay for information or materials, or recruit other people such as in a pyramid scheme is probably a scam as well. Some scammers are extremely crafty, however, and it can be harder to identify work at home scams in such cases.
Putting in a little additional effort, such as doing a simple search for the business online, can sometimes help to identify work at home scams, since people who have been scammed before are likely to share that information. In addition, before agreeing to work for anyone, be sure to talk to an actual person on the phone, and obtain the physical address of the business. It is also important to remember that any legitimate business will require you to fill out tax forms, whether you are a freelance, contracted employee, or an actual employee on payroll. Be extremely wary if you do not need to fill out any tax forms.
If you do agree to work at home for a company, be cautious when dealing with money. Some companies will send you a check and ask you to cash it and use it to purchase items, or even just send you a paycheck in an amount that is too large and ask you to return the additional money. At best, the check will bounce and you will be out the cash; at worse, you could be laundering money, which is illegal.