Ask Stacy: Is There Legitimate Work From Home?

Photo (cc) by Plutor

The Internet can help you shop and keep abreast of the news. But there’s one thing it’s not good for: finding a way to earn a little extra money from home. Here’s an email I got last week:

I really enjoy reading your info and advice. I am a 62-year-old female and have been researching home based on line businesses (surveys, click per pay, you name it, I’ve looked at it) using my computer. Unfortunately, most of these seem to be scams. Do you know of any of these type of businesses that are legitimate and I am actually able to make money? You hear and read about people who making a living or supplement their income. I don’t know where to look anymore, very confused with all that is out there.

Thank you for your time, and I would really appreciate an answer.
– Mary

One of the first scams I ever reported on – I think it was in the early 1990s – was envelope stuffing. In pre-Internet days, you’d see ads in the backs of magazines or newspapers with headlines like, “Make $$$$ in your spare time by stuffing envelopes at home!”

These ads suggested that in exchange for a small fee, you’d get a list of companies that would pay you simply to put flyers or other sales material into envelopes for them. What you actually got when you sent in your money: a one-page “instruction” sheet suggesting that to make money, place ads similar to the one you answered in publications similar to the one you read it in.

The Internet hasn’t changed things much. There’s still a plethora of con artists trying to separate you from your money by promising something they have no intention of delivering: an honest living from home.

I’ve written about this topic before. So rather than repeating what I’ve already written, here’s a partial cut-and-paste from How Can I Work From Home Without Getting Worked Over?

Rule No. 1 when it comes to finding a job: 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 “liveops reviews” into Google 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, 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, 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 on the Money Talks Facebook page.

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
33 Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $100
33 Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $100

A little money goes a long way with these imaginative projects. You can do most of them yourself.

7 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership
7 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership

You don’t necessarily need to join to get in on the warehouse store’s savings.

Stop Overpaying for These 10 Common Purchases
Stop Overpaying for These 10 Common Purchases

The best price for many of these items is “free.”

Retirees Can Dodge Taxes on These 9 Types of Income
Retirees Can Dodge Taxes on These 9 Types of Income

There are lots of things Uncle Sam can’t touch — so long as you play by the rules.

Half of All Retirees Say They Fear This
Half of All Retirees Say They Fear This

Chances are good that you share this fear. Here’s a way to overcome it.

View this page without ads

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

Get Started

Most Popular
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.

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

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

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.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

5 States Lowering Taxes This Year — and 2 Raising Them
5 States Lowering Taxes This Year — and 2 Raising Them

State personal income tax rates, brackets and deductions just changed in these places.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

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.