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Cons targeting homebased businesses are on the rise. Here's how not to get taken.

This story appears in the June 1998 issue of

Peggy Alderman knows the value of added spice. After all, she had been concocting salad dressings for 30 years before successfully starting a business marketing her homemade Russian, ginger and huckleberry salad dressings. But some spices in business life aren't quite so pleasant, as Alderman discovered when Coeur d'Alene Dressing Co., the Rathdrum, Idaho, homebased business she runs with her husband, Don, received an unwelcome little zing of its own.

Last July, Peggy received a call from a saleswoman who said she represented a Minneapolis-based Web site development company. Would the Aldermans like to have a presence on the Web? Certainly, Peggy said. She was interested, even though she had no idea how the saleswoman got her name or that of her business, which was barely one year old at the time. She was told to send a business card, and the company would create a rough Web page she could review.

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