Tips, Tricks, and Resources on How to Avoid Scams!

by Stephani Richardson

It takes careful planning to build your home based business. Avoiding costly mistakes beforehand will prevent you from losing valuable time and money invested. In this day and age, business scams are lurking everywhere. So how do we keep ourselves from falling prey to becoming victims?

1) Research- It sounds so simple, doesn't it? You would be surprised how many people just jump into a business without researching a company's background. The Better Business Bureau offers background information and reliability reports on many companies. Not all companies may be listed unless the company is a member of the BBB or an individual has filed a complaint. It never hurts to try, and it only takes a few minutes. http://search.bbb.org/search.html If a company is listed, then you will get a general idea of how long the company has been in business and whether or not there have been complaints, reports, or resolutions to any complaints filed. The BBB also has a section on current scams at http://www.bbb.org/alerts/Scam.asp. These are not just business scams, but the information is extremely useful.

2) False claims- Does the company make claims that just "sound too good to be true"? You know how the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Amazingly enough, there are a number of people on the Internet who are lured into believing all the "hype". Why does this happen? Because we want so badly to believe that what is written has to be true. We want that "quick fix" or "quick income stream". I'm not saying that the quick income stream isn't always possible, but you have to know your stuff! If you are a newbie at affiliate marketing or online business building, that "quick fix" just isn't going to happen. It's a learning process. I've been working on my business for 5 years, and I'm still learning things every day. 

3) Contact information- Does the business have contact information available on their site? Can you call them? Do they have a physical address? A legitimate business will have that information posted on their site in an easy to find spot. 

4) Ethical business practices- The Direct Marketing Association has posted a set of guidelines for Ethical Business Practice at http://www.the-dma.org/guidelines/ethicalguidelines.shtml. These guidelines include such things as:
*terms of the offer
*advance consent marketing
*special offers and claims
*marketing to children
*sweepstakes sites
*fulfillment of orders
*collecting personal information and data on your website
*online marketing
*telephone marketing
*fund-raising
*laws, codes, and regulations

Know what to look for beforehand.

5) Does the company offer goods or services? Legitimate businesses will offer some type of goods or services for any fees they charge. A company that claims you can make money by recruiting new members is an illegal pyramid scheme. If the company charges a fee, they must offer some type of service or product. Two great websites on fraud are the Internet Fraud Watch www.fraud.org and the National Consumer's League at www.nclnet.org

6) Ask, Ask, Ask! If you do a search on business forums or discussion boards, what will you find? Thousands of websites where you can post and ask questions about business. Chances are that the opportunity you are interested in has already been discussed many times over. Seek the opinions of other people who are building a home based business. The advice is priceless and well worth your search efforts.


About the Author: Stephani Richardson is a work at home mother of 4 who has been actively involved with home business opportunities since December 1999. She owns and operates several business related websites including 1 Work At Home Dot Com at http://www.1workathome.com and Business-Opportunities at http://www.business-oppurtunities.com

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