Work at home opportunity scams to avoid

Whether you’re looking to make a little extra on the side or you want to create a full-time, job replacing income, finding the right work at home opportunity can open up the doors to financial stability, money security and peace of mind.

However, it’s difficult sifting through the vast array of opportunities online to find something that actually works, let alone provides you with a decent amount of income for your efforts.

Over the course of years working online, I’ve tried and tested just about every work at home opportunity you can think of. I’ve been fortunate enough to work for myself, at home, since 2000 so you might say I have some experience of this.

During this time, I’ve noticed certain similarities that keep repeating themselves over and over.

I’ve come to realize that there are certain money-making schemes you should avoid completely because they take up huge amounts of time and only pay cents per hour for your efforts. They’re basically scams as far as I’m concerned.

There are other opportunities that are more legitimate and can pay anything from a decent part-time income to a substantial income – even more than you could ever hope to earn in a full-time job. More of that later.

First, let’s look at the types of work from home opportunities you should avoid, I’m sure a lot of this will look very familiar.

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Avoid, avoid, avoid

These are the types of “opportunities” you need to avoid completely. I’ve seen many different versions of these but basically, it boils down to the same things:

  • They pay a pittance for the huge amount of work involved
  • There’s a high risk of them being scams and you won’t get paid at all
  • You can’t “scale” the opportunity to make more money – it involves you doing all the work yourself and there are only so many hours on your day

So, what are the jobs to avoid like a bad case of the flu?

Here’s a selection of work at home opportunities you should avoid at all costs, don’t say I didn’t warn you 🙂

  1. Stuffing envelopes – just don’t do it, the money is terrible, and the work is hard and boring.
  2. Assembly work – a big scam, you pay for the parts and your work is rejected as sub-standard, you just worked for free.
  3. MLM (multi-level marketing) – while this one is not a scam as such, you’ll lose all credibility and popularity with friends and family when you enthusiastically try to convince them to buy your products.
  4. Craft making – similar to assembly work, you have to buy the materials upfront, your work is easily rejected, and you end up spending more on materials than you make.
  5. Medical billing – you often have to buy costly computers and software upfront and there is no guarantee of work, healthcare privacy rules mean you won’t get work in any case.
  6. Check cashing – you cash a check and keep a percentage of the proceeds, but the check is often a dud and you’re liable for the full amount when you’re left holding the baby.
  7. Filling out surveys – the money is terrible, and you could find yourself working a whole day for about $1, don’t even go there.
  8. Reshipping services – you receive goods, re-package, and ship on. The problem is that the merchandise is often bought with stolen credit cards and you could be charged with handling stolen goods. The worst-case scenario is you could, if found guilty, receive a jail sentence!

How to avoid a scam

The best way to avoid getting sucked in by an opportunity that sounds too good to be true is to avoid anything that does actually sound too good to be true 🙂

You should treat any advertisement that sets unreasonable expectations or makes it all sound too easy with suspicion.

Make sure to do your research thoroughly by checking the company out with the Better Business Bureau, and don’t forget to look online for positive and negative reviews. Check out complaints and see what people are complaining about, that will give you a good idea of whether you should invest your time, and possibly money, in a particular program

Always be cautious of any opportunity that wants you to pay money upfront for application processing fees, supplies or training.

You should never pay to get a job, rather look for something that’s free to start and you can find lots of evidence that gives you confidence about what’s on offer.

Also, study the job description closely. If it sounds very generic or is very vague, that could be a red flag that it’s something to be avoided.

Overall, just use common sense and don’t jump into something on good faith without having solid evidence to back up your decision.

Finally, always be on the lookout for identity theft online. Think carefully before giving out personal information such as your social security number, driver’s license number and (obviously) bank account details.

I’ve made literally thousands of purchases online using my credit card, debit card, and PayPal without a single issue. Generally, purchasing online is very safe if you’re sensible.

I’ve never given out my social security number, driver’s license number or bank account details to anyone online though…

Why not consider building a real, long-term, sustainable business of your own?

Now we’ve discussed the type of opportunities to avoid and how to avoid them, let’s look at what I recommend you do instead.

It involves a complete shift in mindset and a new approach.

work at home opportunity

Rather than pick up a two-bit job working long hours for little money, wouldn’t you rather build your own long-term business that’s capable of producing substantial income for you every month? A real business that you’ll be proud to call your own, and where you have the ultimate say so and control over what goes on.

I think most people would answer yes to that question, and if you did too there are two routes I suggest you consider. I do both of these and it’s how I make my income of thousands of dollars a month.

Affiliate Marketing

The affiliate marketing model is straightforward enough. All it really involves is selling other people’s products (maybe services) for a commission.

There a few benefits of becoming an affiliate marketer which include:

  • Easy and cheap to get started with little risk.
  • Literally, anyone can do it from anywhere in the world.
  • Has the potential to earn you as much as you need or build to 6 or even 7 figures a year.
  • Takes a lot of hard work at first but is a great way to transition to monthly “passive” income once your business is established.
  • Literally millions of affiliate products to choose from so you can choose something that interests you.
  • It will never get saturated and more and more people are buying online (think Amazon & eBay).
  • You are your own boss and control your own business and destiny.
  • The harder you work to build your business, the more rewards you’ll reap in the long run (think steady monthly income).

Of course, if you’re new to affiliate marketing there’s all kinds of information available to you online. There’s actually too much of it, to be honest, and that can lead to confusion and uncertainty as to the best way forward.

So, my suggestion is to find a tried and tested source of good information from a PROVEN source with a track record of success and at a reasonable cost (if not free).

Take a look at Wealthy Affiliate for example, here’s the link WEALTHY AFFILIATE

They’ve been around since 2005, have hundreds of thousands of members, a supportive community that’s always available to answer any questions you have and have a free startup option.


Freelancing is a business model I’ve been using since 2011 when I established my business called Les Blythe Digital marketing.

Just as with affiliate marketing, it has some very real benefits, but a major one to consider is that the demand for freelancers has skyrocketed over the last couple of years.

That’s because many more businesses have realized they can avoid the cost and hassle involved in taking on a full-time, on-site staff member by employing the services of a freelancer as and when necessary.

This is great news for you and your new freelancing career.

If you have a skill that’s valuable to the marketplace you can get paid and get paid well for providing it to a business or an individual.

Sometimes, your client simply doesn’t have the time to do what you can do for them, as would be the case with a virtual assistant, for example. A virtual assistant is just what it suggests – you work remotely and do work that a PA (personal assistant) would do onsite.

There are stacks of opportunities to choose from and I’ll list a few in a moment. One of the main things to remember is that you don’t have to be highly skilled to take advantage of the opportunity that freelancing offers. With a bit of study and some common sense, you can get started climbing the freelancing ladder.

Here are some examples of the kind of work freelancers can do, taken from the biggest freelancing website in the world, Upwork.

Web, Mobile & Software Dev

IT & Networking

Data Science & Analytics

Engineering & Architecture

Design & Creative




Admin Support

Customer Service

Sales & Marketing

Accounting & Consulting

Within each of these categories, there are many subcategories. If we take writing, as just one example, it breaks down into:

Academic Writing & Research

Article & Blog Writing


Creative Writing

Editing & Proofreading

Grant Writing

Resumes & Cover Letters

Technical Writing

Web Content

Other – Writing

Personally, I concentrate on marketing and freelance writing.

When I started out I was no expert. I started with fairly low paid jobs in the beginning – still much more than the paltry money you earn from the opportunities I’m advising you to avoid though!

You can cut down the time it takes to get started as a freelancer dramatically by getting some help right up front, here’s my current number 1 suggestion of the training you’ll need to get off to the fastest start possible (and earn some real money):

#1 Freelancing Course

So, avoid the scams and get yourself a REAL business

If you’re seriously looking for a work at home opportunity, I hope my article helps you avoid the heartache of getting stuck in a lowly paid, dead-end gig. That’s if you get paid at all, of course.

Set your sights higher than that. The internet offers more amazing opportunities today than at any time in our history. You just need to approach it with the right mindset and the willingness to work hard to see success.

In the case of affiliate marketing, success can mean a steady, predictable income coming in month after month on virtual autopilot, and that’s something worth working hard for.

Just imagine how your life would be if you woke up to a paycheck every morning before you’ve even done any work for the day – it’s entirely within your grasp if you seize the opportunity and make it happen.

Wealthy Affiliate is a great place to get started, so what are you waiting for?

You did say you’re serious, right?

Do you have a story to tell about being scammed by a work at home opportunity? Please share it in the comments below.

This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click on one of these links I’ll receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and, in many cases, I’ll get you exclusive discounts. Your support helps me to make more content like this to help you – thanks.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Matiss

    Hey, Les. I really enjoyed the article. And totally enjoyed the core message of it. I really appreciate you for being real, genuine and getting real with people. I do absolutely agree with you, one should never engage in any of the low-quality opportunities to make any money on the side. And in so it’s really important for people to understand that there is no money or long-term financial gain in stuff like filling out surveys. Regardless of it being somewhat of a guaranteed way how to make a few bucks.

    Other than that, some of the examples you mentioned as seriously bad business opportunities I hadn’t even heard of. But they do sound fishy. I myself have been involved in an MLM business in the past and I can say first hand that it’s not fun. The perspective they give you is that you pretty much have two tribes of your friends, ones that are with you in the business (with whom you spend most your time) and the ones that aren’t.

    And you can really lose friends this way. I feel I managed to not salvage any of my relationships as I didn’t feel good about pitching the business and thus, got out early (after a few interviews) but some of my friends weren’t so lucky. They effectively destroyed some of their friendships.

    As for freelancing and affiliate marketing, I am of the opinion that both of these are great as income making tools. In that sense, I myself have tried freelancing and quite frankly I initially thought it will be awesome but I ended up not enjoying it. Instead, I went full ham with that affiliate marketing. And being doing it ever since. And I do really enjoy it. In fact, more than any other occupation I ever have.

    You’re a good guy, Les! Keep up the good work, my friend!

    Have a Great One!

    1. Les Blythe

      Hey there Matiss, and thanks for your thoughtful comment.

      You’re dead right, my perspective is not to waste time on crappy jobs that might pay you a couple of dollars here and there, rather put your efforts into building something you own that’s sustainable in the long term.

      I use both freelancing and affiliate marketing for my online income, but generally, if someone is starting out I recommend affiliate marketing as the easiest way to get started.

      Freelancing can be quite demanding, you need to have a saleable skill and often work to deadlines. That said, once you build up your reputation, it can be very lucrative if you can get regular work. Of course, that involves marketing yourself, something you never really stop when you’re freelancing…

  2. Rasa

    You did kind of mention this already but I remembered a saying involving that notion of too good to be true. It went something like this: “If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is”. Other than that, I love the fact that you’re advising to search for both positive or negative reviews or as I call it confirming and disconfirming evidence. One absolutely has to know both sides of the coin.

    I for a fact love how the affiliate marketing opportunity sounds. Furthermore, I somewhere read (it was a book if I’m not mistaking) something that I found extremely surprising. It turns out in 2019 there are still around 4 billion people who do not have access to the internet. Meaning, that affiliate marketing will grow. And it will grow fast once all of these people are online too.

    Just think of the potential here. This suggests that in modern day and age there are actually more people that don’t have access to the internet than there are those that have that. I’m not sure how accurate that is, but if it’s accurate affiliate marketing could potentially be even more lucrative in the long-term than you suggested.

    Either way, I loved the insights. Really made me think about quitting my job someday and devoting to affiliate marketing full time.

    Have a Wonderful Day!


    1. Les Blythe

      Hey Rasa, thanks for your thoughts on this.

      I must say that I agree with you about the potential of affiliate marketing. I don’t think there has ever been a better time to get involved in working online – as long as you go in the right direction that is. If you can avoid all the junk out there and concentrate on a worthwhile business you’ll do well.

      That’s why I set up FYF to do just that. I’m constantly checking out new ideas so I can advise you guys on what’s good and what should be avoided.

      As a strategy, and with the right amount of work and commitment, affiliate marketing can be very profitable and stable as a source of income.

  3. Jon

    Thank you so much for all the different scams to avoid- I almost got caught by the fake check one before and the making items ones are new to me. This article got SUPER interesting at this point and i’m being serious. I think that you give good suggestions of work from home opportunities that are actually legit jobs.

    1. Les Blythe

      Hey Jon, it’s all good. Just a question of being aware of what’s going on and avoiding the jobs that are going to waste your time and effort. I’m a great believer in doing your own thing and controlling your own destiny…

  4. Gomer

    I share the same point of view here, that one can be better off starting his or her own business. A website like this is one example, because you can own a website if you’re paying for its domain and hosting. Even if people check who’s the owner of the site, it will be revealed you are indeed the owner of the site. So, it’s like owning a real business, something you can claim your own. Unlike if you will just become a marketer of something, anytime the real owner of the product can cut your association with leaving you with no business at all. With this, I join the chorus of people like you saying people should start their own website, start their own business online, a business they can call their own.

    1. Les Blythe

      Totally agree with you Gomer, it’s so much better to have your own business than to rely on working for a company who can lay you off at any time.

      Some people see working in a job as security, I see it as the exact opposite!

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