How to Make Money Online (Without the Scams)

How to Make Money Online (Without the Scams)

If you want to make money online, you’re certainly not alone—it’s been a dream for countless people. Nowadays, in the midst of a global pandemic, making money online is no longer just a dream for many, but a necessity. 

The good news is that it’s possible to connect with many legitimate online jobs that let you make money from home. 

Many of these jobs are full-time roles that are just like traditional jobs. But if you prefer freelancing or even gig work, you can find plenty of other opportunities to make money online.

Note: This article contains affiliate links to partner sites

Who Hires for Online Gig Jobs?

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to impact the economy, making money online is an important lifeline for those who have been laid off or furloughed from their jobs. Fortunately, there are legitimate freelance and gig jobs that can help you make money from home.

Below is a sampling of some of the companies that have open freelance or gig jobs.


JustAnswer is an online question and answer service for questions of every shape and size. Users ask their question on any topic, and freelance experts in that field provide answers. As a JustAnswer expert, you can choose which questions to ask and which ones to skip. You get paid every time the user likes your answer.


VIPKid is an online K12 school that matches teachers with children studying English in China. There are no minimum hours to work, they provide you with the curriculum, and you can set your own schedule. 


Outschool is an online learning platform that lets people share their passions with students. Outschool teachers decide what they want to teach and how long they want to teach it. Want to teach a one week class on flower arranging? Perfect. Would you love to do a deep dive into astronomy and teach a semester-long class? That’s just fine, too. Outschool teachers have flexibility and control over their schedules.


UserTesting provides affordable website testing for clients who want to improve the customer experience. Freelancers sign up and use the websites, providing valuable feedback on how customer-centric the site is. You get paid for every test you complete and interview you participate in.

Other Freelancing Jobs

Plenty of other companies also offer online freelance and gig jobs. Investopedia, Mindojo, and Modern Tribe hire freelancers for positions like content reviewer, tech support, and writer.

Make Money Online with These Jobs

To find these and other online gig jobs, check out our job listings.

What You Need to Know About Making Money Online

While it is true that scammers may target these opportunities, lots of safe and legitimate opportunities exist to make money online. That said, be aware of the warning signs.

Know How to Spot an Online Gig Scam

The best way to protect yourself from any online job scam is to do your homework. While most job boards do a good job of screening out scam job listings, scams can sometimes slip through.

The easiest way to ensure an online gig is legit is to search the company name plus the word “scam” or “legit” and see what comes up. If no company name is in the job posting, try searching part of the job description in quotes.

Thankfully, many scammers don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so they’ll recycle job postings as many times as they can. That makes it more likely to appear in search results as a scam. However, when it comes to online gig work, take a few extra steps to make sure you aren’t being scammed.

Understand What You’re Signing Up For

Make sure you understand the job inside and out before you accept the gig or sign any kind of agreement. For example, if the job posting is vague, ask all the questions you need to ensure you aren’t getting in over your head. Inquire about the specifics of the gig and what the deadlines are, so you know exactly what’s expected of you. If you don’t, you may find yourself doing far more work than you agreed to for far less money than you thought. 

Ask Before Providing Samples

Samples are a tough one. On the one hand, the employer is taking a chance on you and your abilities. On the other hand, you don’t want to do a ton of work, not get paid, then find your work online somewhere else.

One way to protect yourself is to have an online portfolio of your best work. While you may think only writers or photographers have portfolios, anyone in any field can create an online showcase of their best work.

Programmers and developers can use GitHub to demonstrate their coding skills. Designers can collect logos that they’ve created and highlight those on their website. And, LinkedIn can also double as a portfolio when you ask satisfied customers to provide a recommendation for your profile.

But if the strength of your past work isn’t enough, you may need to “prove” you can do the job with a sample or test. Make sure you understand the parameters of the test before you start it. For example, if you’re a writer and a potential employer wants a test piece, do you keep the rights to the work? Will they pay you for it? If you’re putting together a marketing proposal, do the instructions specifically say they won’t use your proposal?

Make sure the specifics are outlined in writing and that both parties agree to the terms. A legitimate employer will not balk at you asking to clarify what the test is for and how the results will be used.

Play It Safe With Taxes

Taxes, of course, go hand in hand with making money online or anywhere else. That includes paying taxes on your income when you’re a freelancer or gig worker. However, tax documents and personal information are ripe for online gig work scams.

If you receive more than $600 a year from one client, you will have to pay taxes on it. And that generally means the person paying you will issue you a 1099-MISC. In that case, you will have to give them your personal information (like your Social Security number). To keep yourself safe, consider not giving the client your information until they’ve paid you $600. At that point, you should know that they are a legitimate employer and not a scam artist.

Also, consider only taking payments via electronic platforms (like PayPal or Venmo). Though you may have to pay their fees, using these kinds of services creates a barrier between you and your clients that can help keep your sensitive information safe.

Use to Make Money Online

Many people enjoy working remotely due the flexibility and variety of opportunities available.

For more online money-making opportunities, check out our job listings.


Note: This article contains affiliate links to partner sites

By Rachel Pelta | July 30, 2020 | Categories: Work Remotely

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