How to Tell if Business is Legitimate

By: Adrian Austin

If you see 'Business Opportunities -- Free Website Provided' advertised in a tabloid, on a website, or in a magazine, how can you know if it's for real? Examine the ads closely. Are there lots of punctuation marks and capitalized words? Do the phrases 'No Work' or 'Get Out of Bed When You Want To' pop up? These ads may be overexaggerating and should be approached with caution. Do they tell you what the job is? Find out what work is required before committing. Look at testimonials from participants. Try to find people who have accepted this opportunity and get their opinions.

See if the business offers documented proof. These documents should show business transactions and proof of sales. Be wary of guarantees of such as 'Make $10,000 in 90 Days!' Find out if the 'Business Opportunities -- Free Website Provided' offer a refund. See if there is any media coverage of the business. Is it positive or negative? Some positive articles may not be legitimate because they are thinly veiled advertisements.

The opportunity may be listed on the stock market. However just because the business owners sold stocks to raise capital doesn't mean the business is good. Scrutinize site logos that promise the integrity of the business. These logos can be stolen from other websites.

Business owners may use the 'Business Opportunities -- Free Website Provided' offer as a way to promote their own books, articles, and speaking engagements. While that can be perfectly fine, make sure you benefit from the opportunity as well.

Online forums may have threads about home businesses. The people involved in these threads may just be promoting so don't think these threads are always objective. Threads may be titled 'Need to work from my home PC' or 'Is there a real telecommuting job?' Find out what the payment structure is, salary or a commission. Do the companies operate only by phone, email, or mail?

Certain organizations can help you verify the opportunity's legitimacy. The Better Business Bureau and U.S. Federal Trade Commission(FTC) can be helpful. The FTC helps you avoid business scams by giving you advice on how to spot them. To file a complaint or get information, go to www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC relays Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other complaints into Consumer Sentinel, an online database available to law enforcement. If you feel you've been scammed, you can contact the state attorney general's office.

Internet-related complaints can be sent to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center, a partnership between the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center. As with any product or service, you should fully check the business behind them.

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