Q: I’m trying to generate whatever income I can while I’m stuck at home, but I know there are a lot of scams out there. What can I do to find legit ways to make some money?
A: Work from home scams were pretty common well before the coronavirus pandemic hit the world’s economies and you can expect that the bad guys will ramp up their scamming efforts.
There are a lot of legitimate online resources that could allow you to generate a little income regardless of your skill set, but the more specialized your skills are, the more lucrative the options may be.
Signs of a Scam
Let’s start with some basic red flags that should make it easy for anyone to sniff out scams.
Anything that sounds too good to be true, especially when they make it sound like you don’t have to do much to make a lot of money, is an obvious red flag.
Legitimate work from home options will be very specific, as they tend to be task-based, so anything you see that has a very general or hard to understand job description, especially if there is no vetting process, should be another red flag.
Remember, the bad guys are preying on those that are in need of work and will create amazing sounding opportunities that are designed to get you excited so you’ll drop your guard. High-pressure tactics are another sign of a scam.
Anytime an “opportunity” requires an upfront fee, special equipment that you must purchase from them first or direct access to your checking account (pretending to be direct deposit), it is a huge red flag.
A simple Google search for any company should provide you with feedback from others as well as clear ways to contact them. If you can’t find either, I suggest you take a pass.
There are companies around the world that hire virtual employees for projects and tasks so opportunities exist in design, programming, creative writing, sales, marketing, customer service, virtual assistant, language translation and an assortment of technical skills.
Crowdsourcing opportunities are different from a typical job because you’re generally competing with many others to get paid for a specific task, such as creating a logo or solving a technical problem.
The creator of the task generally places a reward for the task and invites as many people as possible to submit their work to be considered. The downside to this kind of work is that you can often do the work and not get paid if you aren’t chosen as the ‘winner’.
It’s better suited for creative types that can generate a lot of work in a short period of time, which increases your chances of making money.
Some sites like Fiverr, 99Designs, LogoContest and DesignCrowd have digital creative tasks that pay on the lower end of the scale while sites like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Innocentive and Utest have more technical jobs that pay higher for their tasks.
For more work from home opportunities, check out this article on Yahoo Finance.