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Recommended and Legitimate Home Businesses

written by: Stephanie Mojica•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 6/28/2011

Finding legitimate work from home jobs can be challenging, but not impossible. Learn all about how to spot scams and instead find real home based business recommendations.

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    Basic Tips for Finding Legitimate Work from Home Jobs

    A number of scams are out there designed as home based business recommendations. It is important not to get taken in by shiny promises, especially when it comes to work at home. Predators seek desperation, realizing that many prospective work-at-home entrepreneurs are single mothers, college students or disabled.

    Unfortunately, it can be very hard to get legitimate work from home jobs. This is verified by a ScamBusters.org interview with Beverley Williams, president and founder of the American Association of Home-Based Businesses, who says, "There are very few legitimate [work-at-home job] opportunities available."

    Envelope stuffing may sound easy and attractive but is virtually always a scam. Craft assembly is another infamous fraudulent scheme disguised as a work-at-home opportunity.

    The best rule of thumb is if you are expected to pay anything upfront--even a couple of dollars for a "training packet"--that it is likely a scam. Some unscrupulous people take advantage of people's desire to create an at-home business and claim they can set you up with a medical billing, mystery shopping, order processing, or typing company if you pay a "modest" training fee.

    Likewise, if you are told you'll be an "employee" this is almost always a scam aside from telecommuting for already well-established companies. Almost all legitimate work from home jobs are self-employment opportunities, which pay you on a 1099 as a contractor rather than an employee-based W2.

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    Writing

    Writing is one of the classic home based business recommendations and is usually not a scam. You can write articles for websites such as Bright Hub, Demand Studios, eHow, Helium and Associated Content. Bright Hub, Demand Studios and Associated Content all offer upfront payments as of 2010. However, Associated Content does not always offer upfront payments for articles.

    Bright Hub and Demand Studios require an application process, but are the best ways to make upfront and legitimate money. Both websites also hire copy editors, though the competition can be stiff.

    If you have experience, you can also pick up a copy of the Writer's Market book and try to pitch magazines, newspapers, newsletters and trade journals. This can be a long process and fraught with plenty of waiting and rejection. However, some magazines like "Cosmopolitan" and "Marie Claire" pay as much as $1 a word.

    Plenty of scams still exist in the writing world, especially on Craigslist. Be careful and don't ever pay money directly to a company for a writing "opportunity." You'd be far better served spending those dollars on books, magazines or even developing a website to showcase your business.

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    Customer Service

    A number of stay-at-home moms at the WAHM.com message boards report they work legitimately as customer service agents for reputable companies. Many of these chances for at-home work appear legitimate, such as West at Home, 1-800-Contacts, 1-800-FLOWERS, APAC and LiveOps.

    You usually will be tested on typing speed and may be required to submit to a background check. This ensures you don't have a criminal record or sketchy credit history. Most companies require a landline and a headset with a microphone, but pay an hourly rate. Customer service experience is usually required. The work typically entails taking inbound calls to process orders for products and/or answer customer questions.