Q: I read your article “Schemes on the home front” (Shopsmart, October 2000) about at-home employment opportunities that are really business scams. I was thinking about trying to start my [own] home-based business. Now I don’t know if I even want to try. Please give me some advice.
–S.Horsey , Middletown, Delaware
A: We publish these stories not to scare you but to provide you with accurate information so you can become a smarter consumer and/or businessperson. Those who become victims of scams usually admit to not doing their homework thoroughly. You need to get as much information as you can about a company before you shell out money or sign contracts. If necessary, have a lawyer go over the terms of an agreement before you sign. And, as we mentioned in the article you read, be leery of any company that asks for money up-front. A home-based business can be a wonderful opportunity to gain financial and creative independence, and test your entrepreneurial mettle. There are several organizations that can offer you assistance in getting started. Try:
Small Office Home Office America
www.soho.orgHome Office Association of America
New York City