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Dot-Com or Dot-Con?
 More of this Feature
● Part 1: About Internet Business Opportunity Scams
● Part 2: The Bottom Line
● Part 3: Avoiding Internet Business Opportunity Scams
 Related Resources
● Business Resource Center
● Contract and Freelance Job Banks
● Entrepreneur Center
● Federal Job Scams
● Job Fraud: Tip-Offs to Rip-Offs
● Overseas Job Scams
● Telecommuting: A Matter of Trust
● Work-at-Home Job Scams
 From Other Guides
● Don't Blame the Scammers
● Scams, Frauds and Bad Guys
 Elsewhere on the Web
● Business Opportunity Scams
● Dot Com Shakeout Summary
● Franchising Fraud
● Internet Fraud Complaint Center
● Legit Business Advice
● MLM - Opportunity or Scam?
● MLM Scams
● Top Ten Dot Cons

Part 3: How to Avoid Internet Business Opportunity Scams

This is not intended to discourage you from starting up a home-based Internet business, but rather just to give you a heads up about the too-good-to-be-true, Internet business opportunity scams. There are legit small businesses that have successfully carved out or exploited Internet niches that are not yet saturated, one of the real "secrets" to success. But, as does just about any other entrepreneurial endeavor, it takes hard work, knowledge, dedication, cash flow and resources. (An understanding significant other helps, too.) There are few quick and easy ways to make money on the Internet, at least not honestly.

Granted, there are people who've had success with Internet business opportunity scams, if duping others in defines success. But for every so-called success, there are hundreds of people who aren't, because the hype misled them into believing that it was far easier than it really is. Don't be fooled by

  • Testimonials
  • Guarantees
  • Documented "proof"
  • Huge income potentials

And more hype, like "Get out of bed when you want to!!!" and "Work when you want!!!" Who among your customers will understand that you didn't ship their orders on time, because you chose to sleep in? How many people earn huge incomes by being lazy? To succeed at a dot-con, you must be selling, scheming and conniving all of the time. In fact, dot-con or not, Internet businesses take orders 24/7, which is pretty much the whole idea. So, you likely won't be sleeping in much or taking many days off, until you can afford a staff to take over. But how many years will that take, even for a legit Internet business?

It's all just bait conceived by con artists, who care only about parting you from your money. Ethics don't come into it. (For more about con-artist tricks, click Work-at-Home Job Scams in the sidebar.) The predators who run Internet business opportunity scams count on a new sucker being born every minute, and thrive on the naive, wishful and desperate. Stay-at-home moms, the elderly, and physically-challenged people who need money most are among their prime prey.

The Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission offer more information about avoiding rip-offs like Internet business opportunity scams, plus ways to verify offers and file complaints. Your state attorney general's office might also have specific or general information about Internet business opportunity scams and offer an avenue to file complaints.

But, the best way to avoid Internet business opportunity and other home-based business scams, is to strike out on your own. If you don't know how, the U.S. Small Business Administration provides sound facts and legit resources for starting up a business from scratch. Additionally, the Business Resource and Entrepreneur Centers here at About.com offer loads of advice for starting a legit business, including a home-based business.

The agencies and resources above won't charge you a penny for the information they provide. Why not take advantage of it before a dot-con takes advantage of you?

If an Internet business opportunity scam has already taken advantage of you, you may file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center.

Internet Business Opportunity Scams
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