GYA writer Heather Rayne Geyer relied on personal experience to answer this question. Here’s her response:
Since becoming a stay-at-home parent, I have searched for different ways to make a few bucks here and there. And while there are many legitimate ways to make some money from home, usually the ads you see are not ones to which you want to respond. If you EVER have to pay ANY money – do not do it. You should not have to pay to work. If it is based on commissions, again, I would stay clear.
I have found some Mystery Shopping Companies that are legitimate and fairly simple. You apply, and then once accepted, you will be able to choose from a list of open "shops." But if you are looking to make a living, this is not the way to go, as most shops pay from between $2-$25 depending on the job. Some can be more – but it takes much more time and effort. I will list a few company sites I have personally worked for – and have been paid:
I have also done surveys – again – this does not pay much. Usually $1-$30 per survey. The higher amount surveys are rare, typically it is a buck or two that will be deposited into your Paypal account. For many of these mystery shop sites and survey sites, you will need a Paypal account. Here are a few companies I have done surveys for and have been paid as promised:
I have yet to find a data entry or assistant type telecommute position which appears legitimate and does not require a fee. I do have a resume on the most popular sites under the title of Virtual Assistant, however. Virtual Assistants are becoming more common across the country … but I have yet to get a bite.
Best of luck to you!