The internet is brimming with websites that promise to get you crazy rich in no time. No effort or skill needed whatsoever! If you’ve ever browsed a social media platform, you’ll probably have seen some of these lucrative opportunities. And the thing is, most people do want to make an extra buck working from home. Others would even be willing to give up the security of their 9 to 5 jobs in exchange for the opportunity to join the gig economy. But the fact remains that with remote work, you need to be certain whether a chance is legit or if it’s a scam.


Navigating the waters of remote work can be difficult. For the most part, you have very little way of knowing whether a job you’ve taken is the real deal. Although freelance work platforms are doing their best to protect their users, the simple fact is, you really are on your own.


The risks involved in remote work

While getting an office job usually involves a detailed hiring process, including a face-to-face interview and signing a legally binding contract, the waters are a bit murkier when it comes to online opportunities. Arranging gigs is done either through video calls, email, or social media messaging, which opens up space for a lot of misunderstandings, as well as foul play.


That’s why, before accepting an opportunity, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions:



  • How can you be certain that the client isn’t a scammer?


Though this type of outlook from the get-go might seem negative, it’s the best way to protect yourself. Before you even arrange an interview, make sure you’ve done a thorough online search about your potential new client. This includes a close look at their website and searching for warning signs, as well as going through online directories and social media profiles. If even for a moment during this process, your gut tells you that the opportunity might be a scam, you’re probably better off listening to your instincts and continuing your search for work elsewhere.



  • How will you get paid?


The payment method a potential client proposes can be an excellent way to know what you’re getting into. Required to make a downpayment? Is compensation offered through cheques? Is it a return cash scheme? All of these can be red flags when looking for remote work. Your best bet would be to make sure the payment method offers you security. Options like PayPal, Skrill, and Payoneer are particularly popular among freelancers.



  • Will you be fairly compensated?


Scammy remote job ads often promise generous compensation. A good rule of thumb here is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Another thing to look out for, especially if you’re new to the gig economy, is to stay away from employers who will only pay you a fraction of your work’s worth. Writers and translators are especially susceptible to this type of foul play, so make sure you know your worth before agreeing to anything.



  • Asking for personal data


Finally, if a remote work opportunity requires you to provide personal data, such as your social security number, bank account, home address, and phone number right off the bat, stay clear of it. With sensitive information such as this, it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Seeking out legitimate remote work opportunities

A simple word of advice for those looking to make an extra buck from home is to build skills they can cash in on. Nothing in life comes for free, so don’t expect to become rich overnight, unless you’re willing to roll up your sleeves.


It’s not a bad idea to start the process by evaluating the skills and experience you already have. Start by polishing up your resume. Update your LinkedIn and Upwork profiles, and start nurturing old, as well as making new connections. Visibility is going to be of great help in securing remote work opportunities, and a complete profile accompanied by a professional-looking portfolio is the best way to present yourself to potential employees.


If you’re not entirely sure what line of work you want to start in, you can browse freelancing websites for ideas. Alternatively, you could also develop new skill sets that are going to work out in the long run, and that can even go on to grow into an entirely new career.



  • Options trading


If you have the capital to start with, you could decide to go into the stock market. While this will require several months of training, it’s actually a great way to make money. Of course, stock trading is a full-time job – and one that can be extremely stressful – but you can go with options trading if you’re looking for something a bit easier on the nerves. It’s a good solution for those who are only willing to work for a couple of extra hours per day, as well as those who want to limit risk. 


Do make sure, however, that you choose a reliable stockbroker who can meet all your needs (and perform every action exactly as you want it done).



  • Writing


Have a way with words? Why not cash in on them? The market is currently flush with writing opportunities for anyone willing to do this kind of work. Whether you choose to become a ghostwriter, write copy, or even start your own blog, this talent can turn into a great source of additional income.



  • Design


If you’re a skilled designer or have an artistic talent that you’re ready to take to the next step, becoming a freelance designer might just be the ideal career path for you. This is an exciting remote work opportunity that will give you all the creative freedom you crave when choosing projects, but that can also lead to a more secure in-house position if that’s something you’re ultimately after.



  • Content creation


Those who don’t mind putting themselves in the public eye might also want to give content creation a try. If you have a passion for photography or enjoy making videos, these might prove as a good source of steady income. Furthermore, you can experiment with alternative forms of content as well. Podcasts, for example, are becoming increasingly popular worldwide.


Finding the best remote work opportunity for you

Ultimately, finding remote work can take time. Navigating the numerous offers you’re bound to find on the internet will take a great deal of energy. And sometimes, it will be quite difficult to determine whether an offer is legit or a scam.


But the most important thing is to keep your eyes open for warning signs, to listen to your gut, and, in the end, to choose projects that ignite a spark inside you. After all, the biggest advantage of remote and freelance work is that they allow you to do something you’re passionate about while making a decent living that doesn’t cause you to stress over your future.

Author's Bio: 

Biologist by day, writer by night, and a huge geek. My fields of expertise could be summed up to health, psychology, lifestyle and work-related topics.