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Once in a Lifetime

. . . is enough to find those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities cluttering your e-mail inbox. Where do they come from? Are they for real? Why are they targeting you? Here are the answers to those questions.

This story appears in the March 2000 issue of

If you've been using the Internet for any length of time, there's a pretty good chance that one or two or 20 e-mail messages bearing one of these teasers has landed in your in-box. The senders of these messages promise "financial freedom" or "independence from paychecks" with homebased business opportunities ranging from envelope stuffing to designing Web sites. And all that stands between you and freedom from your dull office job and mean-spirited boss is one small payment . . .

Financial freedom sounds great. But are these so-called business opportunities too good to be true?

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