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Most Work-At-Home Jobs Are Scams, But Some Are Legit

Written By Jodi Brooks DENVER (CBS4) - Everyone has seen them -- enticing work-at-home job postings that promise people can make a lot of money. They might be tempting during these uncertain economic times, but most of those postings are scams.

In fact the words "work at home" are on the FBI's list as top scam words. Words like "telecommute," "telework," or "remote work" are better alternatives.

For Gina Raso, it's all about family.

"I work 40 hours, but I've worked up to 60 to 70 hours at my job and it takes a lot away from my children," Raso said.

Raso is a single mom. She needs to work, but she wants to work from home.

"There are a lot of scams and I'm not sure what companies are legitimate, what companies I can trust," she said.

For every one legitimate work-at-home job posted online, there are about 70 scams.

"I did beat myself up a lot about it," said Kathy Cory, a victim of the Mystery Shopper scam.

Cory lost $8,500 after she wired it through Western Union to four locations. It turns out that money order she cashed was a fraud.

"Somebody out there got all that money out of my bank," Cory said.

So how do you know what work at home jobs are legit? Alpine Access, based in Colorado, is a good place to start.

"Five-thousand people work from the comforts of their home across the United States," said Alpine Access President and CEO Chris Carrington.

Carrington offers job seekers this advice: never pay a company for training, speak with someone -- firms that want to scam you will never talk to you, and a legitimate home-based company will pay you every two weeks.

"We're looking for someone who is a self-started," Carrington said.

Alpine Access needs to hire 750 people by the end of the year.

If you're looking for more flexible jobs, try, another Colorado-based company.

"We've helped over 200,000 people in their job search and currently we have about 15,000 active job seekers using our service," said Sara Sutton Fell, Flexjobs CEO and founder.

Flexjobs is a service you pay $14.95 a month to use. That fee gives access to 7,000 pre-screened jobs that offer some flexibility. Again, you're paying for a service, not a job.

"There's a perception out there about not paying for jobs, and absolutely, you should never pay for a job or at the very least it will raise red flags for you," Fell said.

Other red flags to consider: when a company name is not associated with the job posting, an ad's email address is @yahoo or @hotmail and not the company's domain name, and there are a lot of exclamation marks, ALL CAPS, and not job title in the posting.

Scams are out there -- just ask Cory.

"They found the right person at the right time because I was sort of desperate and so it turned out that they got me," Cory said.

It's why Raso contacted CBS4. She cannot afford to be scammed.

"I'm a very hard worker," Raso said.

All she wants is to work from home.

A great resource out there is a website for work-at-home moms called

One of the best things you can always do is Google a company's name and the word "scam" after it. If the job is a scam, you'll know right away.

LINKS: Alpine Access  |  |

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