As more people everyday start seeking online money making opportunities, it is important to take the time to research these available opportunities before diving right into them. A quick review will help you avoid a longer headache of dealing with a scam.
Don't Pay Anything
Legitimate online money making opportunities do not require any upfront exchange of money before work can begin. The exception to this rule is online customer service representative positions. You may have to pay for a pre-employment background check and drug screen. Most jobs carry an independent contractor status where these are not necessary.
Research the Company
The search engines, specifically job and company review sites, will be your best friend here. If anyone has ever been scammed by online money making opportunities, chances are they've talked about it somewhere. Utilize message boards to ask questions about a specific opportunity, as this will help gather information about what's legitimate and what's not.
Not all legitimate companies will be listed with the Better Business Bureau, but check anyway. If there are negative reports filed for a particular company, don't look back. This is a good sign that it's another work at home scam and should be avoided.
Consider taking a look at the domain WHOIS information record for additional information. Sometimes, privacy will be enabled to prevent the release of information, but many times, there will be a phone number, a name and address of the person who registered the domain. If these don't match the names and locations of people who you know to work with the company, this could be a red flag. Question the issue before assuming it is a scam, but proceed with caution.
Don't Sell Yourself Short
Some companies offer "positions" where you end up getting paid pennies per hour. Recognize what you believe is a good wage, and don't fall victim to the ads displaying an high hourly wage (because there's a catch). It may be possible to make the kind of money the company advertises, and those work at home opportunities may very well be legit; however, these opportunities likely require more work for the money and are not typical results.
When you've found an opportunity that doesn't require any upfront payment, comes with a good peer recommendation and checks out with the Better Business Bureau, you have found something worth giving a shot. You should be prepared to sign and return documentation for tax purposes, and depending on the position, you may be required to sign contracts stating that you won't disclose any company information or compete with the company while (and for a period after you've stopped) working for them.