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The internet is awash with websites and e-mails offering to show you how you can make money working from home. All too many of these so-called latest and greatest and newest bizopp ideas from supposed millionaire gurus are actually last year's rehashed and reworked "biz-flops" from people who didn't make any money on them last year either. Others are never meant to be anything other than just another clever way to separate you from your money, aka "scam" "fraud" or whatever else you want to call it.

Unfortunately, it isn't always easy to tell legitimate home business opportunities from totally dishonest scams. There are a lot a variables and fewer hard and fast rules than you might think. For instance, some have said never to pay for anything in order to work for someone. That is not true on the internet any more than it is true in the brick and mortar world. It is even less true if you plan to start your own home business.

Conventional employers often ask you to pay for your own fingerprinting, background checks, DMV printouts, etc. Online employers may want a background check. You may need to have certain office equipment that you are expected to provide at your own expense. Some freelance sites allow you to view teaser job offers for free, but if you want full access to everything there is a monthly or quarterly fee. This is legitimate.

However, before you pay anything to anyone, do your homework!

Type the website name - probably the same name as the offer you are investigating - into your favorite search engine. Add "+ scam" or "+ fraud" (without the quotes) and see what comes up. Also type any person's name into the search engine with the same two additions and also "+ legal tax defense reviews action" or "+ lawsuit." Keep in mind that you may get a lot of results for a common name and you need to check whether any of the "hits" are really the person you are looking for. Check with the Better Business Bureau and look for unresolved complaints. Legitimate businesses do get complaints because it is impossible to please everybody, but if you see a lot of ignored or unresolved complaints, that could indicate a problem.

Visit the website of the opportunity you are investigating. Copy and paste the website address (url) into the search box on whois.domaintools.com/ . Look at when the domain name was registered. If it was very recently and only for a year or two, you might want to look elsewhere. If it has been a year or more and the registration expires several years down the road, that is a good sign. If the server is blacklisted, that is not good. Again unfortunately, these are not hard and fast rules.

Type the business or offer name into the search engines with the above additions. You have to be especially careful here because you might get hits for a lot of forums where people are venting frustrations. They may have tried something legitimate thinking the money was going to flow into their bank accounts without doing any work. When that doesn't happen, they cry "scam" or "fraud" when it may not be at all. Perhaps they tried to contact the offer and got no response. They cry "scam" or "fraud" when the problem is really with blocked e-mails. Some internet service and e-mail providers are not very good at discerning the difference between spam and legitimate communication.

If you are looking at an eBook that has been written to help get you started in a home business, investigate the reputation of the person who wrote the book as well as the people who are endorsing it on the sales page. Have they been around awhile? Have they been at this business awhile? Who else is their name associated with and what kind of reputation do they have?

As you can tell, starting up a home business is not something to be taken lightly. You need to spend time - a lot of time - doing research. If you are a praying person, spend time in prayer. Once you are confident you have chosen the right home business for you, pour your heart and soul into it. Make it work for you!

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