What is a Work from Home Scam?

What is a Work from Home Scam

If you go online searching for a way to work from home, you’ll hit a virtual wall of online scams. Scams are everywhere. If you aren’t careful, you may soon learn a hard and expensive lesson. In this article, I discuss the most common work from home scams and show how to avoid them.

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What is a Work from Home Scam?

BBB Condensed

Before you get involved with a work from home opportunity, you must do your homework. You must research the company you are considering.

If you do not research the company, you will probably get scammed.

As a minimum, check with the Better Business Bureau.

Also, search online for unbiased reviews. Keep in mind that in most cases, if the review is positive it is because the reviewer will make a commission if you join the opportunity through their link.

Be honest with yourself. Are you so desperate to make money that you believe what the scammer is telling you? Falling for the promises of a scammer can cost you dearly.

If you lose money online, you probably won’t get it back. (See What to do if You Get Scammed.)

The Most Common Work at Home Scams.

  1. Multi-level Marketing, Network Marketing, MLM (See The Heartbreak of MLM)
  2. Online Surveys. (See Are Online Surveys a Scam?)
  3. The Rebate Processing Scam
  4. Online Search Scam
  5. Envelope Stuffing Scam
  6. Government Grant Scam
  7. Work from Home Assembling Crafts Scam
  8. Medical Billing Scam
  9. Pre-Screened List of Jobs Scam
  10. Mystery Shopper Scam
  11. Money Laundering Scam
  12. Promise of Employment with the Federal Government Scam

Click to DISCOVER a Proven Path to Financial Independence!

How to Avoid Work from Home Scams.

Remember, you want to earn money, not spend it.

Genuine work from home opportunities will not ask you to pay them. Instead, they will give you a task and pay YOU when you finish the task to their satisfaction.

Scam Alert Condensed

Rules for Avoiding Work From Home Scams.

Rule #1: Do Not Pay Them.

If you cannot try it for free without plugging in your credit card number, it’s probably a scam.

A genuine work from home opportunity will pay YOU, not the other way around.

If the offer is legitimate, you’ll have the chance to investigate it without risk.

Rule #1 is the king of all rules when it comes to working from home. More rules are listed below, but if you just follow this rule you probably won’t get scammed.

Rule #2: Online Guarantees Mean Nothing.

Typically, a work from home scammer will offer a guarantee, but it means nothing. Online, there is no way of enforcing a guarantee. When a scammer offers a guarantee, they are merely trying to gain your trust.

It is essential to be able to try a work from home offer without risk.

If you are tempted to try a work from home offer, ask yourself, what is the worse that can happen? If the worse does happen, can you live with it?

Rule #3: Beware the Low Ball Offer.

What is a Work from Home Scam

Maybe you get an email offering you the chance to work from home and it will only cost you $5.

In the business, a low ball offer like this is called “the dime sale.” It’s the cheese in the mouse trap.

If you go for it, the scammer will offer something that costs more money, maybe $10 or $20.

If this happens, don’t go any farther. It will only get more expensive.

When you buy the low ball offer, your subconscious tries to prove you made a wise decision by encouraging you to buy the second, more expensive offer too.

Scammers know this and will use it against you.

Remember, you should be earning money from working at home, not spending money!

Rule #4: Beware of Fake Pressure to Buy.

If you are rushed to make a decision, it’s a scam. A real work from home opportunity isn’t going anywhere.

If someone tries to pressure you into making a decision that’s a clear sign you don’t want to get involved. No one can make a good decision under pressure.

Scammers know if you have time to think about their offer, you’ll see it for what it is, a scam.

Rule #5: Scammers Flash Money and Luxury.

Scammers know if they can get you to feel desperate or greedy, they can trick you into falling for their scam.

We humans are emotional animals and when our emotions are triggered, we get stupid.

Scammers work hard to make us feel greedy and desperate. Once our emotions are triggered, we can’t make a smart choice. It’s just the way our brains are wired.

When a business flashes money and tempts you with luxury items like houses, cars, boats, vacations and swimming pools, they are playing you for a fool. Don’t fall for it.

Click to DISCOVER a Proven Path to Financial Independence!

Are There Any Legitimate Work from Home Jobs?

Yes, there are legitimate work at home opportunities online. You can read about them here.

How You Considered Affiliate Marketing?

If you just want to make some extra money, a legitimate work from home job might be all you need. However, if you want to make substantial money online, affiliate marketing may be a better option.

There’s a bit of a learning curve if you have never tried affiliate marketing before, but it’s an easy business to set up and it doesn’t cost much either, if you do it right. With the proper training, affiliate marketing is a very reliable money maker.

The key is to get the right training and support. That’s why I recommend the Online Entrepreneur Certification Course and also why I offer my personal support and coaching at no cost.

To Find Out More About the Online Entrepreneur Certification Course. Go Here.

If you found this article helpful or have experience with a work from home scam, please leave a comment below.

28 thoughts on “What is a Work from Home Scam?

  1. These are some very good guidelines to check off mentally as you are searching online for legitimate ways of making extra income. With so much going on including Catfish type scams online it is good to have the know how and tools to scare the bad guys away with your questions and inquiries or simply avoid them .
    The good stuff will rise to the top in your search. I know I have found some good ways online to make extra money.

    1. Hi, Vertical Veloxity!

      There is no end to the online scams. If someone is searching for a way to make money online, they not only have to worry about scammers, but also about incompetent teachers selling useless programs.

      I’m optimistic that the internet will restore our since of integrity. As online security and identity thief becomes an issue for anyone online, we will demand proof of integrity from the businesses we interact with.

      I’m also hopeful that the search engines will de-index the obvious scams.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  2. Hi Gary,

    I love your website, ScamAvenger. Great name and great information too.

    I hope newbies find your website and your post about work from home scams. It will save them from losing a lot of money and time.

    Thanks for warning me about the scams, but is there a legitimate place to learn how to make money online?



  3. Gary,
    Such excellent advice that you provide in your article, sir. There just are literally tens of thousands of these type of fraud work from home jobs that exist and sadly people still fail to do any type of research, instead buying all into the first thing that I see.

    I questioned one other article written by an individual about a month ago as she promoted work-from-home data entry jobs in an article at her site stating that she “claimed” were legit. I questioned the info that she provided about these jobs including a handful in which the individual had to pay some type of fee in order to get a job. To me that is simply a red-flag that the job is a scam. I even offered the ideal in my comments stating that were a person to be successfully interviewed by a legit company’s h.r. person for an office job. This person then gets hired. Would the h.r. person then demand that this individual write out a check as some sort of fee to complete the process of landing a job?

    Many of the other “jobs” that you mentioned – envelope stuffing, mystery shopping, rebate processing still exist even though it’s been known for years that they are total garbage because naive fools in the world still believe that they are legit!

    Thank you for posting this excellent article, Gary. I think that many people would benefit by some of the sage advice that you offer in this article.


    1. Hi, Jeff!

      Yes, it’s amazing that these old scams are still around. Clearly, they must make money for the scammers or they would have died out. And you are so right, if you have to pay a fee so you can make money, it’s a scam for sure. There are so many work from home scams and more popping up every day.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  4. My goodness. Gary I have found what I was always looking for, your advice on make money online has really changed my perception. I have been scammed and I really understand what you mean. But is there a way of proving the training you will offer will be of help. Or do I have to pay before I start learning how to set up an online business as you have proposed?

    1. Hi, Bruno!

      I’ve been scammed more than I want to admit. It hurts. This is why I only recommend training courses that offer a free trial. The most reputable online businesses know they must prove to you that they can be trusted. Assume, a business is a scam until they prove otherwise.

      The best bet is to only go with businesses that offer a free trial. If you want to lean to build a successful online business, I recommend Wealthy Affiliate. They have a free starter membership so you really can’t lose. Click here to check out Wealthy Affiliate.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  5. Hey Gary,
    you definitely have a talent – a writer’s talent. It is a pleasure to read your articles as they are so clean anf stick to the subject. the points you mention in your article are the ones I have been following since I started my online activities. I am very cautious by nature so always double triple checking everything. And I never believe “easy money” promises as they have always seemed unrealistic for me. Nothing in my life was easy and I have learned that only hard work brings fruits. I just extended my WA premium membership for the second year and I do believe this platform as it never offered easy money but smart way of hard work to honestly earn money. And this corresponds to my belief.

    1. Hi, Arta!

      Thank you for your kind words. Good on you for being cautious on the internet, particularly when it comes to claims of easy money. I wish more people would be. They would avoid most work from home scams if they did.

      Like you, I’ve had to work for everything I’ve achieved. The truth is, I enjoy the work when it’s productive. In the past, I’ve worked hard on some ventures that were nothing but chasing my tail, MLM comes to mind.

      Yes, I agree, Wealthy Affiliate is the only place I’ve found that takes teaches how to really make money online. It does take time and sustained effort, but the rewards are phenomenal.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  6. I think this is great, I applaud you for trying to educate people on how to avoid being scammed. Unfortunately, many of us have had to learn this the hard way. I am glad to see more and more people spreading the word about scammers and how to avoid them. This will save people a lot of time and money.

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      Before I found Wealthy Affiliate I got scammed plenty. As a copywriter, you would think I would know better. Like so many people, I was determined to learn how to make money with the internet.

      Now, I like to think of my experience with scammers as training for what I do now.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  7. Hey Gary!

    This is a very good article on work from home scams. There are too many people out there trying to make money and offer the customer no value.

    Your article makes a lot of great points and gives a person a sound advice of how to avoid these con artists.

    Thank you very much for this valuable information!

    I’ll be checking your site again for new articles. Thanks a bunch Gary!

    1. Hi, Dathanmas!

      I’m glad you found value in my article about work from home scams. There are so many online scams and so few legitimate offers that it is safe to assume 99% of the offers online are scams. Particularly in the make-money-online and investment niches.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  8. Hi, thank you for your straight-forward and informative post. I agree with the rules that you enumerated especially #5. Scammers flash money and luxury. There was one that I almost agreed to joining but when they started flashing all their assets and riches—I kind of felt there was something really wrong. Yup, we need to be wise in selecting which work from home opportunity we should join.

    1. Hi, Cassia!

      I have fallen for some of the scams that flash money. Apparently, I have a morbid curiosity to see how other copywriters mislead. It’s gotten me into trouble more than once, but I’ve also learned a lot too. It can be exciting to believe the lie that you’ll be rich by next Tuesday, but we both know that ain’t going to happen.

      I hope I can save more people from work from home scams. The good news is that the search engines are making it easier for people to spot scammers. In time, maybe the search engines will de-index them so they fall to the bottom of the search engine slush pile. I hope so.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  9. Hi Gary, thanks for this article. I fell on the trap of the online surveys and, as you pointed out in another article, all I got back was my mailbox flooded with spam on how to get perfect eyesight back, or improve my sex life 🙂
    That was enough to teach me a lesson, luckily, but I’m glad you are pointing out so many other ways you may get scammed.

  10. love this site, I didn’t spend too much time with it but what I did see impressed me it was short straight to the point access, the writing didn’t go of track at all as some anti scam sites can, but I think you should be a bit more forward in offering site where people can make money online, like this point should be some where on the front page.

  11. Yes, a very informative and helpful site and great advices also. I have been looking for different online or home-based opportunities and gets excited to each one that I got. Before, I get involved directly without looking in the company background and details. That is why I mostly end up getting scammed. Such a good article.

    1. Hi, Jonah!

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, 99.99% of the make-money-online/work-from-home products are pure scams. In the beginning, I got scammed too. I suggest you read my article How to Really Make Money Online and Never Get Scammed.

      Remember, there is no such thing as magic button or secret sauce to making money online. Making money online is exactly like making money off line, only easier. Before the internet existed, people had to create value in the marketplace if they wanted to make money. The internet did not change that. However, the internet did make the marketplace a billion times larger and far more lucrative.

      Generally speaking, there are three ways to make money online. 1. Create a product and sell it. 2. Sell a product someone else created. 3. Provide a service as a freelancer.

      For a beginner, I recommend door #2. Sell a product someone else created. The income potential is unlimited and the skills you learn as you grow your business will prepare you to create products and freelance, if you want.

      My article How to Be an Internet Entrepreneur discusses this in more detail.

      Watch this short video. It explains the basics of how to start an online business and where you can get started for free, plus how to get in touch with me so I can help you every step of the way.

      I’m here for you,


  12. I really liked the points you listed there Gary, this is a must-read for anyone who wants to start their online business and make some money off the internet.
    The point where you emphasize on the guarantee that is given by these scam artists is really sad. They suck a lot of money from people every year and in return provide no quality service.

    1. Hi, Shrey!

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I’m researching a make-money-online-product now that teaches how to make and sell digital products. It has an entire lesson on how to word the guarantee so it essentially is meaningless. So, as a rule of thumb, there are not guarantees online. That’s why it’s so important to look for “try it before you buy it” products.

      Wealthy Affiliate is an excellent example of a solid “try it before you buy it” product. Wealthy Affiliate teaches people how to really make money online and the starter membership is absolutely free. You don’t even need a credit card.

      I’m here for you,


  13. First let me say the video was a very effective way to summarize and expose work at home scams. Yikes … there’s a lot of them. I’m a little surprised that Google hasn’t come up with one of those animal algorithms that exposes at least the scams with the highest degree of criminal intent. After all Google is concerned about user experience on the internet right?

    I gather from your post that there continues to be an alarming number of folks online these days actually getting scammed by these criminal tactics? Is there a group such as the elderly that are particularly vulnerable to these scammers?

    I navigated around your site and was impressed with amount of content you have included. I think it says you are a writer and it shows. Does WA help folks learn how to write if this is not one of their strong skills?

    1. Thanks for stopping by.

      If you don’t think like a scammer, it’s difficult to believe there are so many work at home scams online.

      You bring up a great point about Google filtering out scams. With all the Google sophisticated technology it sure seems like they would be able to identify a scam and not index it. That would shut down most of them.

      Yes, the elderly are always vulnerable to scams. A few weeks ago, my 86 year old mother fell for a computer repair scam online. They scammer tried to charge her $500 to remove a virus. Fortunately, her credit card company did not honor the charge, but the scammer still managed to screw up her computer.

      You asked about Wealthy Affiliate. The bulk of the training at Wealthy Affiliate is focused on building a profitable online business based on integrity and proven business principles. This does include how to write content for a website.

      Writing gets easier the more you do it. I encourage people who don’t think of themselves as strong writers to write shorter projects at first, but to write a lot of them. 500 word articles for a website are good for a start. As confidence builds, write longer pieces.

      Also, keep the tone friendly and casual. Write as if you’re speaking to your best friend over a cup of coffee. Grammarly is an excellent writing program that will rapidly improve your writing skills.

      I appreciate your comment and insight.

      All the best,


  14. Hey Gary! What a nice article!

    You are so right that MLM companies are scams. They are exactly that, pyramid schemes. I find it so sad that so many people fall for these tricks. They complain that they are not making money without realizing that they have to put in some work. I used to do online surveys and they sucked, they payed me like $1 a week LOL.

    Nice Article:)

    1. Hi, Omar!

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I get a lot of flack for my criticism of MLMs. Over the years, I’ve tried 5 different MLM companies and in every case I lost more money than I made. The MLM pitch exploits people’s desperation. Millions of people are broke and unhappy, and the MLM prey on this.

      In the last MLM I was part of, I got to know some the superstars in the organization. The superstars were rich because they would talk newbies into charging $5,000 worth of product to their credit card. That was their business model. These superstars did nothing to teach the business to these newbies. They just took their money.

      Another superstar was the former secretary of education for the state. She had political connections throughout state government. People bought loads of product from her and joined her organization merely to gain political favors.

      There are sayings in MLM among the movers and shakers that are very revealing. You may have heard of them.

      As you know, MLM is dependent on aggressive recruiting. People who are successful with MLM are fond of saying, “Find them, wind them and see who runs.” In other words, find people, get them excited and see who succeeds. There is no mention of ethics, personal responsibility to the people you recruit or training them to do the business.

      A similar saying among MLM is “Throw enough mud on the wall and some it will stick.” What a horrible way to run a business and an awful way to treat people.

      I appreciate that you took the time to comment.

      All the best,


  15. Thank you for this very informative article. I’ve tried many and lost lots of money and I especially hate upsells. They tell you the product is great and then they tell you, well you really need this upsell to succeed!
    I’ve seen everything that you’ve mentioned here and I wish I had known all this before!
    Thanks again for your really helpful review!
    Good luck with your business!

    1. Hi, Venera!

      You are so right about those damn upsells. When I was starting out, I got suckered into buying over $600 dollars in upsells at one time. That hurt!

      I hope you will write about the scams you’ve experienced. As painful as it might have been, it is still a valuable experience. You can help others avoid the traps you found.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      All the best,


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