Here is a short checklist of what you might want to think about before starting a home-based business.
- If it Sounds Too Good...
This might seem obvious, but it is amazing how many really good scam artists are able to enlist intelligent people into schemes that sound too good to pass-up! Be very wary of businesses that offer a lot of income in a short period of time with very little work involved.
- Be Wary of Companies Wanting Money
Of course, some legitimate companies want a fee from you to receive their start-up package, but personally I am very leery of any company who wants you to pay them money. When I started maintaining this About.com site, as an independent contractor, not an employee, I was initially impressed with the fact that all that I was investing initially was my time. If About.com had never paid me anything, then I would have been out the time, but NO money!
- Avoid Pyramid Schemes
Pyramid schemes are illegal in most states. Basically, a pyramid scheme consists of people recruiting other people to join the pyramid, usually for a fee. Your "pay" is based not on selling a product, but on recruiting others. There are only so many people you can recruit, so these schemes make a very few people some money, but for most people, they never see a cent from a pyramid.
- Stuffing Envelopes and Home Assembly
I am lumping these two scams together, because they have both been around so long, and they still show up in legitimate sources, such as magazines and newspapers. While there may be some people who have actually been paid for stuffing envelopes, I have had some friends who have tried making money this way. After paying the $25 to $45 fee, and following the directions, all have been told that they didn't meet the "standards" of the company.
The following Net links have information that will help all of us avoid a home-business scam. Being informed is the best defense against scams.
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
From the SEC, a good checklist to help you avoid fraud, especially online fraud.
- Pyramid Schemes
From the Pyramid Scheme Alert site, a very detailed explanation about the harm pyramid schemes inflict on people.
- About Internet Fraud Watch
Good information from Internet Fraud Watch, specializing in telemarketing scams.
- United States Postal Inspection Service
From the U.S. Postal Site, some recent work-at-home schemes are discussed, as well as other employment schemes.