You've probably seen the ads on your Facebook page or in your junk e-mail folder. They say things like, "My aunt made thousands working from home!!! Click here to find out how!"
It's tough to tell if any work-from-home job opportunities are actually real.
It's something stay-at-home mom Tracy Hollis has faced over the last 8 months, and she's been looking for a work-from-home job. She hopes to bring in a little extra income for her family.
"My husband works a lot of overtime, so if I could bring just a couple hundred dollars a month, it would help us out," Hollis said.
When Hollis posted on a Facebook group for work-from-home moms, the scammers came calling.
"Four people friend requested me. I don't know why they are, I'm not going to accept. Then, I had 17 messages," Hollis said.
None of those offers turned out to be real. Experts say there are some legitimate work-from-home jobs, but the majority are just after your money.
One ad we found claimed their neighbor's step-aunt made $20,000 after just a few hours on her laptop! So how can you tell which ads to believe? Experts say there are a few questions you can ask to find out.
Many of the offers we found online ask applications to pay for training, equipment, or a membership fee. Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Agency investigator Eric Olsen told us you shouldn't have to pay to get a job.
"Nine times out of 10, someone asking you to pay them money for a service that you're going to do for them is usually a scam," Olsen said.
Be suspicious of any promises of big money for simple tasks, like stuffing envelopes or clicking on websites.
Your best bet to find a legitimate job is through established, well-known businesses like the Home Shopping Network or 1-800-FLOWERS. These are names that you can easily look up online, or check on by calling your local Better Business Bureau or Consumer Protection office.
"People really need to look into who they're doing business with," Olsen said.
Through searching online, we found examples including customer service positions for Apple, as well as a call taker work-from-home position for CenturyLink for $12 an hour.
The real work-from-home jobs don't claim you'll get rich quick, they just offer a way to supplement your family's income. That's what Tracy Hollis still hopes to find.
"I'm just going to keep looking until I come across something that is good," Hollis said.
The Better Business Bureau tells us marketers and scammers have a few other tricks they use to target people looking for work-from-home jobs.
Be suspicious of job offers that come out of nowhere from strangers. Don't give them your personal information. If they high pressure you to agree to the job now, don't rush into anything. Take your time and do your research. Don't fall for the claim of a job being a "limited time offer". Any offer to work where they refuse to give you full details in writing should be questioned, as well.
The Federal Trade Commission has some information on looking for a work-at-home job at this page.