(Photo: Pixland Getty Images/Pixland)
By Dana Dean
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Working from home may sound ideal but you have to be careful or you could walk into a scam.
NewsChannel 5's Dana Dean stayed home Tuesday morning for this assignment.
You may have received an unsolicited email or seen those websites boasting how you can make thousands of dollars by working from home. But as we found out, it's just not that easy.
Search for "work at home jobs" on the Internet and you'll get not 3,000, not 3,000,000, but more than 3,000,000,000 results.
Every day, the Better Business Bureau gets calls from people verifying work at home jobs.
"The challenge is people want to look for job opportunities where they can work from home but they are few and far between," said Chris Thetford with the Better Business Bureau.
As for what's on the Internet, there are ways to tell if it's a real deal or a real scam. Here's the first thing the BBB tells callers.
"No one should have to pay for a job in order to get a job. That's what we see with many stay at home job offers. They'll say you can work from home, you can do this, you can do that. But in order to do that, you have to send a check for this amount of money or wire us this amount of money, so that's a big red flag," said Thetford.
The next tip: evaluate the offers. If you have to pay to get supplies to do a job, have a plan in place.
"If you don't have a secure network of how you're going to sell whatever it is that you plan on distributing, or things like that, you might just end up with the supplies, and not have a stream of income from selling the supplies," he said.
And finally, the BBB defines a reputable work at home job as one where you either start a business from your home or one where your employer lets you work from home.
"But to start off immediately with a job that's a stay at home job can be more difficult and that's the area you can get into that's full of scams," said Thetford.
Here are three legitimate websites where people have found work. You might consider www.care.com or www.sittercity.com for work as a sitter, caregiver, or housekeeper. We've also heard great things about www.odesk.com to find freelance work.
While these are not necessarily stay-at-home jobs since you might have to leave your house, depending on the work you get, it could mean some extra income.