How to avoid work at home scams

Have you always wanted to join the thousands of mum and dadpreneurs who have a home based business?

If you have, but have held back because you’re not sure what type of business to go for, it certainly is wise to take your time over making that decision.  After all, you’ll want a business that you will enjoy, will fit around the family, and of course one that pays.

But how can you choose which one is right for you?

Well, firstly a word of warning!

How to avoid work at home scams


You will come across ridiculous and unrealistic claims such as “Learn how I earned $$$$ Millions in just 7 days…”  

They’ll tell you that all you need to do is pay for insider information (that only they can reveal) and that before long, you can sit back and watch the pounds or dollars roll in!  Of course, you’ll need to keep on paying for this insider information and it won’t reveal much.  Just enough to keep teasing you along, but never enough for you to actually learn anything tangible.

Do also be aware of some affiliate marketing schemes, where you pay for a holding page to sell products (typically health products, but there are many others).  The holding page will be on a domain name that is impossible for you or anyone else to remember, and will be impossible to find through normal search engines.  So the only way to get people to buy your products is to constantly bombard everyone with spammy links.

Of course, not all online businesses out there are work at home scams.  You just need to protect yourself by conducting thorough research.

There are a host of Network Marketing and Direct Selling businesses which do require a set-up fee, but which are entirely legitimiate.  Many of these will have signed up to a code of practice set up by the Direct Selling Association, so if you are thinking about joining one, check to see whether they’re a member at

Or if you are thinking about buying a franchise, check the British Franchise Association for tips on what you should consider before joining at They also have a list of accredited franchise companies.

Smaller companies might not have signed up to either of these two organisations, but that doesn’t mean they are not legitimate.  Here are some other simple checks you can carry out yourself:

  • Look at the website.  Is it populated with fresh content, or does it appear to be a single holding page with very little information?
  • Does the company have a registered office address with proper contact details? (And have you tried contacting them?)
  • Is there sufficient information about the scheme or business you are joining?  Does the business offer training and support?  Are they transparent about their offering?  Legitimate companies will send you this information for free.  Companies operating on the shadier side will expect you to meet at a location (rarely a static venue, but a different location each time) before you can find anything out.

There are lots more tips on the Scambusters Website at



Coming up with an idea for a home based business isn’t as hard as you might think.  Here are some tips which will help you:

  • Your new business should be something that you are passionate about, so what do you really enjoy doing?  Any favourite hobbies such as crafting, cake making, photography, etc?
  • Alternatively, take a look at your softer skills, such as negotiating, organising, problem solving, etc.  Some of these are perfect for a Consultant or Virtual Assistant-type service.
  • Niche is nice.  So what, if you had the opportunity, would you specialise in?  Is there a problem that you’re itching to fix and if so, how would you fix it?  That could make an excellent idea for a business!
  • And what do your friends and family say you’re particularly good at?  Sometimes we have hidden talents that we don’t fully recognise until someone else points them out to us.


If you haven’t decided what type of home business to go for yet, take your time in carrying out thorough research before you take the plunge.

Yes, it takes time and patience, but ultimately nothing beats the immense satisfaction you’ll get from setting up and successfully running your own legitimate business!
Image By Matthew Bowden via Wikimedia Commons

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