Work from home scams are more common than you may think—here’s how to identify one.

By Liz Steelman
Updated April 02, 2020

What could be better than working from home? Your schedule is usually flexible, you don’t have to commute, and, of course, you can work in your pajamas! Seems too good to be true, right? Well, in some cases, it is. Though many big companies such as Aetna, Amazon, and even Disney double as work from home companies and are known to post legitimate remote positions, the high demand for work-at-home jobs has led to crops of scams masquerading as legitimate job listings.

In August 2017, the FTC announced that it had obtained a “temporary restraining order” against Bob Robinson, LLC, Mega Export USA, and Netcore Solutions, LLC for operating a deceptive work-at-home scheme that claimed working from home for them could generate “hundreds of dollars per hour… without any special skills or experience.” These businesses advertised misleading job listings for companies such as “Work At Home EDU,” “Work at Home Program,” “Work at Home Ecademy,” “Work at Home University,” “Work at Home Revenue,” and “Work at Home Institute” on sites like

These advertisements were placed on article pages that provided information for those looking for work-at-home information to allegedly draw consumers into the scam. For these specific job listings, applicants were told to pay $97 for a training program. Once they paid that, they were offered an advanced program costing $194.95 that claimed to help them earn up to six figures per month.

Unfortunately, that case is just one of many online scams masquerading as “business opportunities.” So how do you know if that job listing is really a work from home scam? First, do an online search of the company with the words “complaint,” “reviews,” or “scam.” Many times, there will be testaments from others who have been scammed if that's the case.

Still not sure of the validity of the offer? The FTC recommends asking the hiring manager (or whoever you talk to about the listing) the following questions about the opportunity to help determine if it’s legitimate:

  • What tasks will I have to perform? Are any other steps involved?
  • What is the total cost of this work-at-home program? What will I get for my money?
  • Will I be paid a salary or commission?
  • Who will pay me? When will I get my first paycheck?
  • What is the basis for your claims about my likely earnings? What documents can you show me to prove your claims are true before I give you any money?

Working from home is certainly a possibility, even if you’ve never done it before: Taking the right steps to find a reliable job is key to WFH success. Put those home office ideas into practice, do your due diligence, and get to work.