There are many ways to be self-employed these days, but the Internet, newspaper classifieds and even job sites like Monster.com and LinkedIn.com are full of money-making scams. Tempted by an easy way to stay at home or earn extra money on the side, the old adage, "If it's too good to be true, it probably is," can get drowned out by the promise of easy income.
Here's some scams to look out for. Don't even give companies or individuals offering these services any of your contact information - they will sell it to other spammers or hound you endlessly.
About.com lists some of these classic scams that have been around for ages:
Assembly Jobs - You won't make money assembling kits -- they merely want you to buy their starter kit.
Data Entry Jobs - These often also include buying a kit that will get you started. There are also sites that offer to provide you with information on "only legitimate" work at home jobs - don't do it! They are only trying to sell you a bunk training guide.
Multi-Level Marketing - not to be confused with direct selling (think beauty products or candles), multi-level marketing does not focus as much on a product as it does on recruiting more members. This is also known as a pyramid scheme.
Online Businesses - Do you want to start your own online business and get rich? Be very wary of these type of ads too. What you will do is end up paying for a guide to working at home which duplicates information you can find free.
Posting Ads - There are lots of ads saying workers are needed to post ads on online bulletin boards and forums. Read closely - you don't get paid to post.
Processing Claims - In order to get "hired" you'll need to buy equipment, software and pay for training.
Stuffing Envelopes - All major companies have postage machines which stuff, sort and meter mail. You may at best earn a fraction of a cent per envelope stuffed.
Woman's Day also offers this list:
Make money typing at home - You'll often find these in the writing section of craigslist.org. The catch is you have to pay to get the company listings. These lists cost an average of about $50, and all you will get is a booklet or PDF with company addresses.
Get paid to surf the Web - These programs promise to send you a check just for visiting certain Web sites throughout the day; the catch? You will be required to sign up for certain services and promotions to qualify for payment. In almost all cases, you will have to sign up with a credit card that will be charged until you cancel.
The e-mail chain letter - People still do these! But why don't they actually work? People rarely make money the creator of the chain often keeps his or her name (or his or her friends' names) at the top. Oh, by the way, they are illegal.
Get rich quick with Google Adsense - People and companies other than Google are selling Google Adsense "Web site kits" and "Adsense ready" programs are recent scams that promise you can make money online just by owning a template Web site filled with hundreds of pages of content. You are just creating a junk site and you won't ever earn money from it.
"Turnkey" Web sites to put your income on autopilot - All you have to do is purchase a Web site package and recruit other people who purchase the same package you just bought so you can earn a commission on the sale. It's the classic multilevel marketing (MLM) program in disguise. You will not really be creating an online store.
You can find out others' views on certain offers or research possible scam companies at Scam.com.
Got others to add to the list? Leave them in the comments below!