How to spot genuine work-at-home jobs

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DETROIT - Between the tough economy and the harsh winter, many of you might be wishing and wondering if there's some kind of job you could do in the comfort of your home.

Many people told Ruth to the Rescue they like the idea.        

"You don't have to spend any money on gas, you have access to your refrigerator, your food, everything you need," said Greg Miller of Grosse Pointe Park. 

"There wouldn't be as much stress because you don't have to deal with a lot of other people," added Robin Johnson of Grosse Pointe. 

There are some Work at Home opportunities that might fit your lifestyle and experience level perfectly. 

Consider a website like

You could become a virtual concierge or customer service representative, helping people make travel plans, find contractors, or deal with retail returns. It pays $10 to $12 an hour, with job openings across the country. 

Or, freelance work can be found at There are thousands of jobs posted, and you can submit a proposal for work: everything from writing  projects to web design and engineering. 

If you're an educator, you can turn your computer into a classroom! Check out and 

Avoiding Scams 

The Better Business Bureau gives those sites all A+ grades, but the agency knows the dangers you're facing with other work at home opportunities. 

Local 4 Consumer Expert Ruth Spencer asked the CEO of the local Better Business Bureau, "How can they tell the difference between a real  work at home offer and a scam?" 

"The first thing is they're probably going to ask you for money up front. For whatever their service is, whatever their scheme is, they're going to ask for money up front," answered Melanie Duquesnel, CEO of the local Better Business Bureau. 

She told Local 4's Ruth Spencer about a series of red flags people should consider when looking for work at home jobs. 

*Beware of unsolicited job offers. Very few legitimate businesses launch recruiting efforts via phone, email, or text campaigns.

*Beware of jobs posted on craigslist. That site does not vet any of the postings.

*Beware of anyone that offers big money, especially if they don't question you about your skills.

"They're going tell you no experience required. You don't have to worry about having typing skills, or internet capability," said Duquesnel. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam. Use a healthy dose of common sense and skepticism when approaching any work at home offer. 

Duquesnel offered other advice 

*Do your due diligence. Check with the Better Business Bureau website. Does the company have a good reputation.

*Check with your state attorney general. If the business has a history of complaints, steer clear.

*Don't share personal information with someone dangling a job offer, but looking for personal data that could be dangerous in the wrong hands.

*If someone claims to represent a company you've heard of, ask to call them back. Look for a legitimate number and check things out. 

On Guard

Ruth to the Rescue found a few people who say they've learned to be on guard against those fake offers.

"I really don't read them because I've seen and heard so many times when they actually were scams," said Georgia Manzie of Saginaw. 

"I think it's too good to be true. They seem like a hoax, and nothing could be that easy," said Robin Johnson of Grosse Pointe. 

Duquesnel also says if you really want to work at home, you might be better off asking your currently employer for more flexibility. She says that more and more employers are offering that flexibility to keep good workers than ever before. 

If you're careful, do your homework, and find a legitimate work at home job that's right for you, it could be a dream come true. 

"I think working at home is excellent. If it were up to me I would work from home every single day," said Greg Miller of Grosse Pointe Park. 

Below are the links to the websites mentioned in this story, and a link to the Better Business Bureau:  

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