It's unfortunate that there are so many "work from home" scams out there, but the sad truth is that they exist. Therefore, if you want to work from home, it's a good idea to be savvy about these scams and know what to look for. In addition to listening to your gut and doing your research (search the web on each company you consider), here are some tips for making sure that a work-at-home opportunity is legitimate.
1. Beware of vague claims. Scammers like to make big but non-specific promises, like how much money you will make. They may even try to sound specific by giving you a pound amount you can expect to earn. But if you can't discern what, exactly, you would be doing if you worked for them, or if you can't tell what the job description is, then steer clear. You want concrete, specific directions and job descriptions, not vague promises about getting rich overnight.
2. Testimonials can be a great way to promote a legitimate business, but watch out for testimonials that sound far too glowing or staged. "I was able to quit my job after only 1 week, and now I make thousands each month working from home!" says Jane Smith in Somewhere City. Jane and many others may have similar testimonials on a company's website, but once again they are too good, too perfect, and too vague. Jane doesn't say what she did to make all that money, and the success time is way too quick (1 week).
3. Beware of consultants and representatives who call you constantly, trying to get you to sell their product. Legitimate businesses won't harass you, or try to pin you down on selling a product. If it's a truly good product, then it should be enough in demand that they don't need to bug you.
4. Find out what the customer service is like with the company you're considering working for. If you can't get through on the phone or don't get replies to your emails, that's a red flag that the company is not legitimate, or at least disorganized.
5. Fees are a somewhat grey area - it's normal to expect a sign-up fee with an online community with great business resources, for example (those who own that community are probably work-from-home people, too!). It's also normal to expect to pay a fee for marketing services or for getting your name put on a list for prospective employers to see. The point is, you are getting something for your money.
Beware of companies that ask you to pay a fee that does not seem to have any basis, or a fee for you to be trained. Most sources agree that you should avoid companies that ask you to pay just for the privilege of working for them.