CBS News Business and Eco9nomics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis offered advice on "The Early Show" about how to avoid the scams and pull in some real money:
A lot of people get excited about the idea of working from home. Who doesn't want to work all day in their pajamas?! But beware ruses to try to get money FROM you.
HOW TO SPOT A SCAM
If you do a Google search on "work from home," 99.9 percent of results will be a schemes to try to rip you off, according to the Better Business Bureau.
It says you can spot them by looking out ads that promise tons of money for little work with no experience or special skills necessary. Odds are, as the old adage goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
And beware: it's easy to take advantage of people who really want to work at home, especially stay-at-home moms, the disabled and the elderly.
Bottom line: You shouldn't have to pay money to get a job.
Often, if you find one of these "too good to be true" links that promise you a stay at home job, the ad will have a screaming headline such as "Area Mom Makes $3K a week From Home." Often, these links will take you to fake-looking news websites that use a news format to lend legitimacy to the extraordinary claims. After the article, you'll be offered a free CD-ROM trial. Perhaps the CD teaches you to make money with Google, or how you can start your own blogging business, or become a social media star. It sounds great right?
What isn't clear in the sales pitch is this: Once you've kept the CD-ROM for more than a few days, you start getting charged -- sometimes hundreds of dollars, just to have it in your possession. A lot of consumers who have fallen for this have reported difficulty in stopping the charges, and in returning the CD. It's a trap that's easy to fall into but hard to dig out of.
Some scams ask you to tweet to promote certain websites. Frequently, the very websites you're promoting are scams, and you're basically luring others into the scam.
Another common one? It's called the Secret Shopper scam. You get a letter or see an ad or e-mail saying you can be a secret shopper, shopping different stores, acquiring different products for a company. Sounds simple right? It's starts out that you receive a check in the mail from the company you're supposedly doing services for, and "working for."
At that point, you're supposed to deposit the check into your bank account. You're told to spend part of that money shopping at specific stores, then to wire back the leftover cash. Which you do. And then you find out from your bank that the initial check was a fraud. When the check bounces, you're responsible for whatever real money you wired back. Even worse, if you don't have enough in your account, you're now on the hook to the bank.
Another scam that works nicely is becoming a re-shipper. Some companies advertise that you merely have to re-ship some goods for them, say, electronics. You get a box of electronics and all you have to do is slap new FedEx labels and send them out to the addresses indicated. However, you might be shipping stolen goods. This kind of activity is similar to helping illegal companies launder money. And that can get you in big trouble.
HOW YOU CAN REALLY MAKE MONEY FROM HOME
There are a few ways that you can legitimately make money from home. Becoming an online tutor, selling your gold (either used or old), running customer service from your home, or selling your crafts or old stuff.
Here are some websites "The Early Show" checked out with the Better Business Bureau.
HOWEVER, if you want to work from home, you should ALWAYS do your own research. It's a MUST. You do NOT want to get stuck or trapped. Go to the Better Business Bureau website, and read reviews on the web. You could learn a lot.
Many companies are seeing the benefits of having people work from home as customer service reps. It saves money for them, and can help you make money. You want to apply through a hub, which will then connect you to a business that'd hiring.
These are highly regarded by the BBB:
This company offers online training for the employees it hires. Competition for jobs is stiff, however, they are one of the most respected in the industry.
Call Center Careers.com
Here you can browse jobs at call centers throughout the US. On the site, you will be able to easily browse through jobs in your area. The Featured Employers section is where you will find the highest rated jobs. This is a good way for you to apply for a job with a company that is recommended both by people who currently work there and those who have left it.
For graduates AND current students. You need strong content knowledge in English, Math, Science or Social Studies. You should be able to teach the subjects from the 4th grade level up to 1st year of college.
For people with strong math and reading skills, who are either already certified or have strong experience. They provide you with 6 hours of training on how to use their online tools and interactive instructional program.
This site calls for qualified and certified teachers to teach online. If you are a course author or course writer, you can also work as an author for original educational site content. You need four to six years (or more) work experience (outside of school) in the area of interest being instructed. A BA or 4 years of college is required.
Selling Your Gold or Crafts
Think you don't have any unused gold items around the house? Think again! Chances are, you have a chain you haven't worn since high school, an old ring, or a broken gold necklace somewhere in your home. With gold prices at all-time highs, above $1,300 an ounce, selling old items containing gold is one of fastest ways to make a quick buck. BUT, you want to be sure you work with a reputable vendor.
Here are some that are highly-rated by Better Business Bureau:
Empire Gold Buyers and Gold Fellow
Both highly ranked by BBB. Both highly ranked by BBB. They list charts on their websites for what you pay and very clear thorough instructions of how to go about sending in your gold. Important thing: they pay for and insure your shipping. You send them the gold. They value it. Let you know. And you have the option to sell it to them, OR to have your gold returned. Usually gets shipped in the same day.
Your Local Jeweler
Remember, these companies will pay you based only on the weight of the gold; they do not pay for gemstones. Jewelry that's still wearable and in good shape can fetch a higher price at a local jeweler...You can also take your gold to the jeweler FIRST before sending it into the websites to make sure you are getting a fair price.
FOR HAND MADE AND VINTAGE...art, photography, clothing, jewelry, edibles, bath & beauty products, quilts, knick-knacks and toys. The vintage items on the site have only one rule to follow: they must be 20 years or older. These items range from old boots and ice skates, to dresses, hats and scarves. The site follows in the tradition of open craft fairs, giving sellers personal storefronts where they list their goods for a fee of $0.20.
eBay also works as a site to sell your stuff. You can sell handmade crafts, but you can also sell older goods...books, CD's, clothing, cameras, you name it, you can sell it. It's fairly simple to do, and a lot of people have found success.