Starting a Business

There is so many work-at-home internet sites for stay-at-home moms out there. How do I know it's not a scam?

I am serious about working at home doing something on the computer. There are so many sites for work-at-home moms and it gets really overwhelming. I am not sure if it's a scam, it's hard to tell. Everything is like pay $49.95 and you'll be successful and rich. Or maybe I'll just be $49.95 poorer. Thanks.
min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
We've all seen the cheesy websites: "Invest just $100
and Be a Millionaire in Two Weeks!" or "Make Big Cash Stuffing Envelopes!" 
Americans lose billions to fraud every year and work-at-home scams top the list
as a method for crooks.

First let's clear up the terminology. Work-at-home positions are for people who
would like to telecommute or work for a company outside of the traditional
office setting. You should never put down cash in order to begin working for a
company. Home based business situations are different in that there will
usually be some sort of initial investment to open up shop. Home based
businesses can take the form of network marketing opportunities such as Avon
or Bookwise or franchises such as Build-a-Bear or Stroller Strides. Beware of
pyramid schemes taking the form of the aforementioned legitimate businesses.

To protect yourself in either of these situations, run the name of the company
you're interested in through the Better Business Bureau website (www.bbb.org). The next step to
staying safe is to research the company yourself. Google the name and try to
determine if the company has a solid reputation. Who links to them? Investing
in a brand new company that is "sure to take off", gives you the same
odds as winning big in Vegas, and in this case there is no shrimp buffet.

Asking to speak with current users may seem like a good idea, but just as
testimonials can be constructed by a creative writer, the person on the other
end of the phone could be a compensated actor.

If you've determined that the company has a solid reputation, has been acknowledged
by a major media outlet, and gives you that warm fuzzy feeling, it's time to
deal with legalities. Scammers are quick to give you oral assurances, but don't
fall for it. Make sure that you get the refund policy in writing.

I personally never do business with a company that I haven't heard very good
things about from a trusted associate or family member. That said, even cousin
Joe can get swindled so don't substitute an eager sales pitch for your due diligence.


Last but not least, trust your instincts. If the website looks like it was
designed by a fifth grader with a copy of HTML
for Dummies,
move on. If they ask for your social security number, credit
card number, and mother’s maiden name within five minutes of talking to you, be
afraid. And if the company makes outrageous -sound-to-good-to-be-true claims,
keep walking. You're not going to make $10,000 your first week doing anything
legal. But if you do, call me.

Good luck, Bunmi ZalobResources: scambusters.orgwww.consumerlaw.orgwww.bb.orgwww.wahm.com

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