3 work-at-home online jobs that aren’t scams

Cons Pay for producers was all over the map and seemed unfair at times. Find Freelance Work Online eLance. Hundreds of thousands of computers still vulnerable. Secondly, legitimate offers never come in spam emails that point to a site on which all the links point to the same webpage. So he posted his resume on Yahoo hot Jobs in Phoenix.

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Who's behind the job scams - cheating Americans looking for honest work? Join us as we go online and undercover, applying for jobs, and taking you inside the scams.

We're on the trail of thieves using legitimate Web sites to cheat Americans desperately searching for jobs in an ailing economy. With the help of volunteers, Dateline starts applying for fake "work-at-home" jobs.

And we discover the scammers placing fake ads - stealing the names real companies to look legitimate. Pretending to be companies like Genentech, a cutting edge bio-tech firm; Staples, the office supply powerhouse; even Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street giant. Before long, we're hired by some of the fake companies, and the scammers start sending us money orders and checks. But phone calls to the real companies confirm the checks are counterfeit.

So, where are the counterfeits coming from? Dateline discovered the scammers actually recruit innocent people like Debbie Perry to do their dirty work by hiring them as so-called "payroll clerks. Debbie Perry shows check: This is the reason you called me. Debbie is a single mom from Ohio. She says she met a man online who used this picture and called himself Jackson Rolland.

Offered her a part-time job, and told her to buy a popular business check-writing program called "versa-check. Every week, her "online" boss would send her a "payroll" list with the names of people who were supposed to get what she thought were legitimate checks. So lemme get this straight. He would give you the routing numbers and the account numbers.

Debbie showed us how the check-writing program lets you take a copy of a signature, and insert it right on the check. I have one in your name. Would you like to see it? They look like a real check - and they even have a watermark on them. And in the beginning, you thought this was legitimate. I thought it was legitimate because he had the signature and everything. Looking back, Debbie says she feels guilty she didn't figure it out earlier.

But she finally got suspicious - and quit. But not before the scammer who calls himself "Jackson Roland" had tricked her into sending out the same sort of counterfeit checks that fooled Carol Browning - and thousands of other people looking for jobs.

And where is the scammer? Nigeria, a place where scams are so common, there's even a music video mocking gullible Americans. Turns out, thieves from Nigeria, likely operating out of an Internet cafe like this one, had turned Debbie Perry into an unwitting puppet. Debbie sent out more than three-quarters of a million dollars in counterfeit checks. And she's not alone. The nation's top cyber-cop, Shawn Henry at the FBI, says the troubled economy makes it that much easier for thieves to trick people desperate for work.

And that's where innocent people can be victimized. Where they believe that they're moving money for a legitimate company. And in fact, they're part of-- an unknowing part of a conspiracy. Can Dateline beat the scammers at their own game? Can we follow the money, and stop it before it gets into the thieves' hands?

College student Michael Montgomery was looking for a part-time job. So he posted his resume on Yahoo hot Jobs in Phoenix. Before long, he got this e-mail offering what sounded like a perfect job he could do from home with a big-time outfit: After an online interview with the personnel manager - a man named Scott Nash - Michael was hired as kind of an online accountant.

But instead of sending him one of those counterfeit checks - the scammers had an even more ingenious plan. He was supposed to use some of it for expenses. But he was told to forward most of money by Western Union to a supposed computer supplier who'd send him equipment he'd need for the job.

Turns out, Michael had just fallen for a frightening new version of the job scam. He just helped Rob someone else's bank account. The thieves had hacked into another account at the same bank -they'd transferred the stolen money electronically into Michael's account. And, to get their hands on the cash, they'd tricked him into sending it to them by Western Union. But it gets worse. When the bank discovered the fraudulent transfer, they reversed it.

And demanded that Michael pay the money back - just like they would with a counterfeit check. What Michael didn't know was that Dateline had been working for months, trying to track down where money like his was going. In fact, when we answered online ads, we ended up with the same fake job, even the same fake boss, as Michael did. The scammer told us to wire the money to a woman in north Carolina. Of course, being a freelancer isn't always smooth sailing.

You'll run into difficult clients, which could leave you without pay or even in court. Click here for some rules both freelancers and clients should follow so everyone is happy. If you can write, but don't want to write for someone else, being an e-book author might be the job for you. You don't even have to write a novel to succeed. Short stories, funny life anecdotes, insightful commentary and detailed instructions in skill-based tasks are all popular topics that you can sell.

Then figure out what unique viewpoint you can bring to those areas and get writing. Before you publish, be sure to have an editor or two go over your manuscript. You can use friends or family, but you might also want to contract a professional using some of the freelance sites I mentioned earlier.

You also might want to hire someone to create a great cover — after all, it's the first thing people will see. Then you just need to decide where to sell. Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing is a good place to start. Apple's iBookstore is another. Or you can create your own e-book file — PDF or ePub — using a program like Calibre and sell it independently through your own website.

No matter where you post your e-book, marketing is key. You'll want to promote it on social media at the very least. One good trick is to start a blog and post short blurbs or even full chapters to give people a taste. Maybe start an entire site on the same topic as the book to gather an audience.

I have a whole write-up on my site about writing and publishing your own e-book. Be sure to pay attention to how to price your book for the best chances of success. Click here to learn how to make money with your own e-Book. On the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks.

For her daily tips, newsletters and more, visit her website at http: Facebook 0 Twitter 0 livefyre Email Print. Here are some more quick guidelines to avoid scams while looking for jobs online: Always make sure the company is legitimate and has a solid online history.

Never pay any money — such as application processing fees — up front.

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Learn about the Morning Joe show on MSNBC. Find breaking news and in-depth analyses, commentary and informed perspectives about the latest headlines. A genuine report made by MSNBC in which they show that some work at home jobs really work has become very popular among fraudsters that launch phony campaigns. The Hacker News came across a . Legit Work-from-Home Websites - and the Scams. Share; Tweet TIPS FOR ANYONE PLANNING ON TAKING ON FULL OR PART-TIME WORK FROM HOME. Be Tech-Ready. Featured.