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Working from home: Separating the real gigs from the scams

What's the best way to find out if a work-from-home job is real? @Davidlaz has the answer

Janette is wondering about all those ads that promise lucrative pay for working from home. "Are there any jobs that are legitimate?" she asks.

Answer: Yes. But you'll have to traverse an obstacle course of illegitimate ones.

ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions

A Google search for "work from home jobs" pulls in more than a billion results, which gives an idea how many scammers are out there trying to sucker the unwary.

First rule of thumb: Run, don't walk, away from any at-home gig that requires you to pony up some money up front.

More specifically, be wary of jobs that require you to assemble things, stuff envelopes, process claims or track refunds. Scammers typically require that you pay them in advance for training or supplies, and then you never see them again.

Bankrate.com surveyed the work-at-home horizon and settled on 10 jobs that have a better chance of being legit. They include medical transcriptionist, Web designer, tech support and document editing.

The most important thing to remember is to ask questions up front and receive terms in writing. Real employers will have no problem with this. Bogus ones will tap dance around until finally moving on to other potential victims.

If you have a consumer question, email me at asklaz@latimes.com or contact me via Twitter @Davidlaz.

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