|The email inboxes of net-savvy parents are often flooded with |
home business scams.
We're prime targets. We know our way around a computer
keyboard, and we love to spend time with our kids, so we're
marked for every home-business opportunity in the book.
And it's true: a lot of us would love nothing more than
to make money and stay at home. That's why even though we
know we can smell a rat a mile away, we're sometimes
tempted...even by those less-than-reputable (and
less-than-ethical) companies that rely on SPAM to
get the word out.
Here are a few tips to avoiding the scams and finding
the right home-based business opportunity for you.
IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE...
It probably is. If you find an opportunity for which you
can make a lot of money without spending any time working,
move on to the next opportunity.
"Tammy made $4,000 in her first month. So can you."
First of all, who is Tammy? Testimonials that are difficult
to verify may not be legitimate. If the ad only gives
first names and photographs of people holding scads of
cash, be careful. If Tammy is a legitimate home-working
entrepreneur, it's possible that she made that $4,000 in
her first month...and significantly less after that time period.
Also be wary of companies that offer to sell you lists of
companies that are looking for homeworkers. A friend of
mine once shelled out $95 for such a list, which turned
out to be a listing straight from her yellow pages. When
she contacted these businesses, she discovered that they
were neither looking for home-workers nor did they agree
to be listed in such a book.
Be leery if there is a strict time limit for investing
in a business opportunity. Scammers know that the faster
you act, the less you think (and research). And if this
is a fly-by-night company, these time limits provide a
better opportunity to take the money and run.
Also, don't get too excited about deep discounts on starting
costs. More costs may come later. And keep in mind that, in
many states, the government does not regulate business
opportunities with investments of less than $500. Some of
the worst scams may fall into this category.
Use your knowledge of the internet to avoid being scammed.
Check for listings with the National Fraud Information
Center (http://www.fraud.org/) as well as the Better
Business Bureau (http://www.bbb.org)
You can also conduct a search for the business opportunities
on Google Groups (http://www.groups.google.com) Here
you'll find an archive of newsgroup postings. If someone has
been scammed, chances are they'll want to warn others.
IF YOU DECIDE TO SIGN...
Get everything in writing, including business expenses--
from fees to equipment to supplies. Will the company refund
any of your initial investment if you change your mind?
Keep detailed records.
Some online opportunities are lucrative and legitimate,
and--armed with a few online resources--it's never been
easier to sort the good from the bad.
When it comes to working from home, "when there's a will,
there's a way." Now it's up to you to find the way that
best suits you and your lifestyle.
About the Author
Susie Michelle Cortright is the founder of Achieving At Home
http://www.achievingathome.com, an online support center
for parents who want to work from home. She is also the editor
of Momscape (http://www.momscape.com) and the author of
More Energy for Moms.
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