Starting a home business has become a wonderful and attractive alternative for parents across the country. With the advent of the Internet, email and cell phones, working at home has been a very viable option. No other alternative allows parents the opportunity to create their own hours and work around their children’s schedules while earning an income. But before investing in any home business opportunity, it is wise to take appropriate steps to research the opportunity and the company.
Unfortunately, there are deceitful businesses ready to take advantage of parent’s deep desire to be at home with their children. These steps will help you to avoid potential problems and avoid home business scams:
1. Research the company.
Always check them out with the Better Business Bureau (http://search.bbb.org) located in their city. Run a Google search on the company name and website URL (the two may be different) and pay close attention to the reviews and feedback others are saying about the company. Be wary if the company is listed in sites dedicated to busting scams such as RipOffReport.com, ScamBusters.org and others.
2. Request for References.
Ask for at least three references of people they have worked with. Call each person and ask about his or her experiences with the company.
3. Be cautious of any company that asks for money for a work-at-home job.
Legitimate companies don’t ask you to pay to be able to start working on your at-home job. If they do, they need to be upfront about it — e.g. do they state on their website that applicants must pay a fee for background check? The general rule is: if they ask for money, run.
4. You won’t get rich quick.
Don’t be fooled by ads claiming you can make large amounts of money in short periods of time. And be cautious of companies that require you to sign up immediately. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
5. Scrutinize the claims very carefully.
Avoid those Type from home scams that claim you can earn $40,000.00 a year typing from home. As Diana Ennen, author of Virtual Assistant ~ the Series, Become a Highly Successful Sought After VA states, “These are usually scams. They promise you a listing of companies looking for home-based typist and normally these companies aren’t even aware they are on the list and seldom need help. Starting a secretarial business at home is a great work-at-home opportunity. However, you need to do it right and start one on your own.”
6. Get more information from the company.
Get specific information in writing from the company such as how long they have been in business, where they are located (not just a P.O. Box), how many customers they have, what their refund policy is (read it thoroughly); how long it takes to get paid and if there are any restrictions on payments, etc.
7. If you must pay, don’t pay cash.
If you do invest in a business opportunity, use your credit card instead of cash. It may be easier to dispute the charges with your credit card company rather than trying to get your money back from a fraudulent company.
8. Research the company.
Research current scams on web sites such as ScamBusters at: http://www.scambusters.com. Report any scams or fraudulent companies to the Federal Trade Commission http://www.ftc.gov, your state’s Attorney General and the National Fraud Information Center, PO Box 65868, Washington, DC 20035, (800) 876-7060.
9. Report the fraud
Call the National Fraud Information Center at (800) 876-7060 for information or visit their web site at: http://www.fraud.org.
10. Trust your gut instinct.
Don’t invest in any opportunity that you are not sure about. Instead, find something that you are interested in and will enjoy doing. (Do what you love, and the money will follow.)
Lesley Spencer is founder and president of the HBWM.com, Inc. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Relations and has been featured in numerous media outlets including CBS News, Forbes, Business Week, Parents, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. She has been working from home for over 10 years and has two children whom she absolutely adores!