Ask Stacy: How Do I Work from Home without Getting Worked Over?

Here’s a really good question I got this week … and I’ve gotten others like it many times.

I would like to know if there are any legitimate, recommendable, and trustworthy Internet-type work-from-home websites – preferably ones that won’t require me to pay them to have me work for them to pay me. That concept doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense.

I am presently employed but would like to supplement my income. I don’t have any plans on quitting my job – the benefits are pretty good. I really can’t have anything but a part-time job as I don’t have much time to work with it. I’m really not interested in “owning my own business.” Just want to earn a few extra nickles working for a reputable company from home. Then again, it might be that the best recommendation you can provide is to just steer clear and be happy that I have a job …

– Tony in Michigan

You’re right to be skeptical, Tony. You know something’s a scam when the FBI and Secret Service join forces to fight it – and they have. It’s called the Internet Crime Complaint Center, and it’s issued a “fraud advisory” [PDF] of work-at-home scams that operate like this …

  • As a new employee, the individual is asked to provide his/her bank account information to his/her employer or to establish a new account using information provided by the employer.
  • Funds are deposited into the account that the employee is instructed to wire to a third (often international) account.
  • The employee is instructed to deduct a percentage of the wired amount as his/her commission.
  • However, rather than processing rebates or processing payments, the individual is actually participating in a criminal activity by laundering stolen funds through his/her own account or a newly established account.

While this is an extreme example, it does highlight some extremely important advice: Avoid any potential employer, work-at-home or otherwise, that asks you to pay them before they pay you.

Also be leery if a website suggests you can make big bucks for unskilled labor that usually warrants minimum wage. As the Federal Trade Commission’s OnGuard Online program puts it, “The FTC has yet to find anyone who has gotten rich stuffing envelopes or assembling magnets at home.”

Your best bet is to find online employers that have been mentioned as legitimate in the media. For example, this story from Good Morning America cites 10 companies that offer work from home.

But just because GMA says a company is legitimate doesn’t make it so – check it out yourself. At random, I picked one from their report – liveops.com, which provides call center help – and searched the Better Business Bureau for complaints. The San Jose BBB gives liveops.com a “B,” meaning, “The company would generally have demonstrated good business-consumer relations, and we would expect any consumer complaints not to be of a serious nature and to be satisfactorily handled by the company.”

Then I typed into Google, “liveops reviews” and found lots of pros

“I avg. $15-20.00 per hour and work when I want to. Some may complain that do not get enough calls, but calls are routed to the agents with the best statistics first. This is a sales job folks … so if sales is not your thing … do not expect a ton of calls. “

… and lots of cons …

“Wrongly punished for lack of sales in some upsells which are ridiculously priced and deceiving to the customer. Scripting needs serious review by competent reviewers and re-written.”

As you can see, Tony, if you want to work from home part-time, it’s going to take some part-time work just to figure out where to apply. And when you find a reputable site, check out the FTC’s “To Do” list, which includes all the questions you ‘ll need to ask your potential part-time employer – like “Will I be paid a salary or will my pay be based on commission?” and “What is this going to cost me, including supplies, equipment and membership fees?”

Another tough part about legitimate work-from-home jobs: Because of their desirability and the number of people looking for them, the competition for them is fierce, especially among the jobs that require little or no experience.

That being said, here are some additional articles with other leads:

You might also try to find a work-at-home job from employers who don’t advertise working from home. One of my editor’s relatives works from home doing medical billing. She got the idea from the web, but she got the job by approaching her employer and negotiating a work-from-home deal. She took a tad less money but makes up for it saving on the commute and clothing and lunches, and he gets to free up some cramped office space and save a little payroll.

That may not work in your case, Tony, but the principle is the same. You may want to ask around – friends and family – about part-time work that’s available locally and see if you can do that from home in your spare time. It may take more leg-work than looking online, but you’re a lot less likely to get scammed.

Another idea – if you’re a decent writer, be a blogger – I make my living working from home, as do our other writers. How about starting a blog called “Adventures in Working from home”?

If other Money Talks News readers have had good or bad experiences working from home, put them in the comments under this post or send them to me and we’ll get the information out there.

Got more money questions? Browse lots more Ask Stacy answers here.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Other Retailers With Free Prescription Delivery
7 Other Retailers With Free Prescription Delivery

Amazon’s new pharmacy is hardly the first to offer free shipping.

10 Things That Can Ding Your Social Security Payments
10 Things That Can Ding Your Social Security Payments

Here are 10 things that could mean less money in your pocket during retirement.

Not Asking About This in the Hospital Can Cost You Thousands
Not Asking About This in the Hospital Can Cost You Thousands

Medicare recipients who fail to clarify their hospital status can pay a high price.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

9 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Home
9 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Home

These creative products on Amazon will hide unsightly clutter while saving space.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages
New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages

With bipartisan support, this bill could help millions of workers and retirees boost or conserve their retirement savings.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value
3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value

Select the wrong color for your next car, and it could depreciate twice as fast as others.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire
9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire

You’ve waited all your life for this moment. Make the most of your retirement.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon
Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

7 Everyday Items About to Get More Expensive
7 Everyday Items About to Get More Expensive

Prices hikes are on the way for some essential goods.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target
8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target

No store can specialize in everything. For some purchases, it’s smart to shop elsewhere.

8 Things You Should Be Buying at Thrift Stores
8 Things You Should Be Buying at Thrift Stores

For one expert, these secondhand bargains stand out from the rest.

20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees
20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees

Retirees can dial back the intensity of work while continuing to bring in a paycheck.

11 Foods That Can Keep for Years
11 Foods That Can Keep for Years

These are some of the longest-lasting groceries you can buy.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report
8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report

Federal law lets these entities peek at your credit — regardless of whether you’re borrowing money.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Social Security Income
5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Social Security Income

Here’s how to minimize and delay the chunk that Uncle Sam claims.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.