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Make Money Online – Scam or Legit?

Surely you’ve heard that there are ways you can make money online, but how many of these opportunities are legitimate? It can be difficult to differentiate between the scams and the legit sources of work, so here’s a handy guide to show you the difference between the real opportunities and the fakes.

Stay Away from these Scams

Random comments online advertising high-paying jobs

We’ve all seen these comments online: “My neighbor’s cousin’s wife’s sister makes $45,000 a month working from home and she just bought herself a Lamborghini! Email thisisabigscam@yahoo.com to find out how!!!”. And perhaps you’ve wondered about them, from time to time – is it really possible for someone to make that much money from this vague “working from home” job with no actual requirements?

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that this is a scam, and that’s not because making money working from home isn’t possible, but because this is hardly a believable job advertisement. First of all, the source is sketchy – usually, some random forum online, and not a website advertising jobs. Secondly, they always reference some distant relative or acquaintance; again, it doesn’t make it very believable.

The job these people are supposedly doing is always very vague, and the pay is very high. Suffice it to say, don’t bother contacting these people, because you will not make a single cent “working from home”.

“You won $50,000!”/ “Click here to win” pop-ups

Every once in a while, you’ll be online, minding your own business, and you are suddenly visually assaulted by a big, flashing pop-up excitedly letting you know that YOU’VE WON, or that you can win, as long as you just click. The amount is fabulous and certainly tempting, but let’s think about this for a second.

Who are these people? How did they find you? You never get to see who is offering you this sudden, and very generous opportunity to win big. Hard to believe someone is just going around offering free money to people. And what did you do to win, anyway? Have you entered any competitions, lately? Have you signed up for anything? Do you even play the lottery? No?

Then this is sounding fishier and fishier by the second. Let’s not beat around the bush – this is a scam and if you click, the only thing you’ll win is malware, or a surprise eyeful of something NSFW. Hard pass.

Make money fast e-books

Ah see, these are even more insidious because they are more difficult to identify as scams: the make money fast e-books. It seems like pretty much every website is trying to sell you some secret, but guaranteed formula to make tons of money. You just have to buy it for $19.99 and in X weeks, you’ll make $20,000. Easy, right? But who are these people selling it? If it’s so special, why are they selling it to you, and why for so little? Why isn’t anyone else in on the secret?

…because this is a scam. Same goes for any “unique business venture” that requires you to buy in so that you can later make thousands of dollars. At best, it’s a pyramid scheme. At worst, it’s just straight-up a way to scam you out of your money.

Opt for these Legitimate Opportunities Instead 

Freelancing websites

Let’s make this clear from the get-go – this is your best bet when it comes to earning a decent income. First of all, it’s very convenient. You can do these jobs from home, or anywhere else you want, as long as you’ve got an internet connection. In addition, the freelance nature of these types of gigs means that you only work when you want, for as long as you want. So, if your schedule is a bit hectic for a traditional 9 to 5, this may be perfect for you.

Plus, it’s easy to find freelancing gigs, because there are plenty of websites, niches, and projects awaiting you. There is a multitude of skills you could be putting to good use, including proofreading, writing, web design, html, graphic design, etc. All you have to do is figure out what you are good at or would like to do and then bid on projects that sound good to you with your best pitch and samples of your work, if you have them.

Finally, there’s actually good money to be made, here. You won’t get rich as a beginner, by any means, but in time, you can earn a decent living. As you gain more experience, you can start increasing your rate. Plus, the more projects you take on, the more you can make, and there is no shortage of clients.

Filling out surveys

If you are, perhaps, looking for something less skill-based, or that takes less time, then maybe you’ll be interested in filling out surveys. The job is exactly what it says on the tin: you get links to all kinds of product and brand surveys and you need to give your honest opinion/preference on all of them. The surveys don’t take longer than a few minutes.

The big draw here is that anyone can do this; there is no need for skills, training, or education. As long as you can click or tap, you are able to do this. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and you can also do it while doing something else, because it doesn’t require all of your attention.


If you’re up to the task and have always wanted to teach, but education was never quite your calling, then online tutoring may be your happy middle ground. Working from home as an English tutor, for example, will be the easiest, because there is no need for any other skills. You only need a webcam and an internet connection and you’re good to go. But you can also tutor in other subjects, if you’ve got the knowledge.

This is easy, because you can do it from home, and you take on as many sessions as you like or have time for. There’s also the advantage of the fact that there are students from all over the world looking for lessons; you can work at any time of the day or night and there’s bound to be someone ready to learn.

Bottom line

Working online doesn’t have to be risky, but it’s not all 100% legitimate, either. There are some very real opportunities for online jobs, like tutoring, filling out surveys, or freelancing, but you’ve got to differentiate them from the scams that keep popping up everywhere, promising big paydays for little to no work.