Sounds too good to be true? It usually is.

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Lately, there has been a lot of publicity around scams—from pyramid to Ponzi schemes. A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) crime survey reported that 56% of Canadian companies fell victim to economic crime in the last 12 months. I’m wondering why more of us aren’t wiser to signs we’re being scammed.


Wise or not, every year thousands of individuals and businesses lose money (and a little pride) thanks to scam artists.

PwC advises that larger organizations develop robust anti-fraud measures. But what if you’re a home office or small business entrepreneur without a huge crime prevention budget? What steps can you take to protect yourself and your livelihood?

Scambusters, an online fraud resource, offers 10 tips to help you steer clear of work-at-home and home-based business scams. Among them:

1. Never pay for ‘the chance to work’ You would never take an office opportunity seriously if an interviewer asked you to pay any sort of fee to land the job. The same is true for home-based ones. If someone asks you for money to work or to provide information about the job, it’s a scam.

2. Use your credit card to make purchases While this may sound counter-intuitive, if you’re buying a starter kit or need to make a home-based business investment, using your credit card can make it easier for you to dispute the charges with the credit card company later. If you pay by cash or cheque and the opportunity is a scam, your money is likely lost for good.

3. If it sounds too good to be true… Companies that claim you can “make up to $1,000 a week” doing just a few hours of work are likely scams.

4. Don’t be desperate Posting online forum messages that you’re in financial trouble and need to find work from home is like flying a red cape in front of a bull.

5. Spam often means scam Home-based business scams are often initiated by email spam, making suspicious or unrealistic promises. Again, if it sounds too good to be true… offers some more tips on home job scams here.

Have you been the victim of a work-from-home scam or know someone who has? Please share your advice.

By Adam

January 18, 2010