Distinguishing between a legitimate homebased business opportunity and a scam (for instance, an on-the-level medical billing service and one of the scamming variety) designed to separate you from your money is much easier than you'd think. While no two scams are exactly alike, a few common denominators should raise immediate skepticism.
-Unrealistic Promises. Just as there's no such thing as a free lunch, there's no such thing as a successful homebased business that requires little or no work. Turnkey scams that offer you "everything you need" to operate a business, including materials and training, often claim to have a built-in customer base. As anyone who has ever tried to run a legitimate business knows, finding and keeping customers requires serious effort, and can make or break the business.
-Time Pressure. Act now before it's too late! Offer expires within 24 hours! Limited time offer! Often, those behind a business opportunity scam will demand that you send money before you have time to think the deal through or research the company with your local chapter of the Better Business Bureau. A company offering a legitimate business opportunity won't ask you to make snap decisions involving large sums of money.
-Unusual Business Models. If it's not clear where or how the company offering the business opportunity makes a profit, it's likely you, in fact, are that source of profit. For example, if a company sells you a starter kit containing a product and sales training manuals, and then offers you no other support (advice or additional training), it's because they've already made their profit off of you. They don't really care if you succeed or fail because, either way, they got their money upfront.