10 Online Scams That Target Small Businesses

Work From Home
Work from home! Earn tons of money! If something sounds too good to be true ... © zerocreatives/Westend61/Corbis

The "work from home" scam is as old as the hills. Originally advertised in the backs of magazines and on telephone poles, it's found a whole new life luring in suckers on the Internet. Common sense will tell you that you probably can't make $5,000 a month stuffing envelopes in the comfort of your own home, but if you've been job-searching for months and are really strapped for cash, sometimes common sense can be hard to come by. And that's when you answer one of these ads.

Work-from-home scams come in all forms. Envelope-stuffing is the granddaddy, but medical billing, craft assembly, typing and multilevel marketing are also common. It really doesn't matter what the advertised job is, though — the scammers make their money on the fee they'll require from you, whether it's for a "starter kit," software or a list of potential clients. You might also be asked to call a 1-900 number (and pay for it, of course). Whatever the case, after you pay up and get started, something will inevitably go wrong (the client list is bogus, they don't send the software) and you'll be a little bit poorer.