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Success in the Dot Com lifestyle not only involves discipline and drive, it also involves diligence.

This is the Information Age, there are work-from-home jobs, and then there are Dot Com lifestyle work-from-home jobs. Frankly, there’s no comparison.

Either way, it’s beyond question that opportunities like these on the rise, but as their popularity grows, so do inventive ways to dupe job seekers. Get-rich-quick offers and promises of easy money for very little work should immediately put your guard up. If you haven’t done so already, familiarize yourself with what a standard offer in each sector looks like.

Legitimate telecommuting positions are looking for specific skill sets and job requirements, and do not over-promise. For example, too many tacky “$$$$’ or “!!!!!” should forewarn you it’s most likely not a trustworthy opportunity.

As you pursue your dream of a shoes optional position, keep an eye out for these sneaky tactics:

1. Double-Check the URL

It’s your dream job, allows you to work from home, and is from a reputable company — CNBC, for example — or is it? Beware of Universal Resource Locators (URLs) that can be misleading. In fact, you may think you’re on CNBC’s site when you’re actually on a bogus page made to look impressively similar to the real thing

URL elements

Even worse? You have to have your detective eyes peeled when web addresses appear to be real, such as one caught recently: http://cnbc.com-index.in/. Though it looks like a *.com and gives the impression you’re on a page within the CNBC site, its extension — the characters after the last dot in a URL — really a *.in that has nothing to do with the media company to whom you assume you’re applying.

2. Be Wary of Names

After you’ve mentally prepared yourself to check whether a web address is legit, a company name can also be detrimentally deceiving.

Just ask the Federal Trade Commission, which stated in a press release that it had to mail $2.3million in refund checks to 93,086 consumers who purchased a $4 ‘work-at-home’ kit, guaranteeing they would earn $100,000 in six months.

laptop trap

Not stressed about losing $4? Though it’s a delicious mocha or two, you should be concerned about the fact that scammers get your account information from that $4 charge and continue to charge it for $72 or so, every month.

And the reason this particular scam was successful before the big bust-up was because the fake company names to whom job seekers were applying were sneakily misleading: Google Money Tree, Google Pro, and Google Treasure Chest.

3. Don’t Pay Up

Be extremely wary if a company claiming to hire you would charge for anything. The purpose of getting a job is to earn money, not spend it.

Triple check with whom you’re applying to see if there’s a charge at all. Cons can get clever, telling you that you got the job, but you just need to pay for a company-issued laptop.

Even better? Past scams requested your bank account information to supposedly deposit money into your account to help you purchase a laptop or — in the case of the mystery shopper scam — fool you into cashing a fake check and then owing money to the bank.

4. Google It

One red flag for starters can be the contact with whom you’re corresponding. Is the e-mail address legit and is it the company URL? Or, are you giving personal information to Joe@gmail.com?

cartoon re scamsGenerally, your new boss will have an e-mail address associated with the company that’s hiring you. But don’t let that satisfy you, either. Make sure you can get someone on the actual phone before accepting employment with them. Another recent scam was conducting interviews over instant messaging. Similar to the fake email address, it’s very easy to create a fake IM account.

With an actual phone number and a company-associated e-mail address — as opposed to @gmail or @hotmail, etc — you can Google the company and the word scam to do your homework as to whether anyone has reported them.

Remember, when you do accept employment, a company you are working for will need tax information from you, which will include very personal information. Do everything you can to ensure it’s a legitimate opportunity and you have the information you need to successfully report them if anything is amiss in the process.

5. Check the Fine Print in Dot Com Offers

The fact that there actually is serious cash to be made in work-at-home e-commerce draws the cons who prey on people looking to take a short cut to the Dot Com lifestyle. If only one existed!

Here’s a useful tutorial from a well-meaning gentleman who describes how scam artists twist legitimate marketing techniques to cloak their true intentions of separating dreamers from their dosh.

Do note, though, that he errs about links. Search engines such as Google like sites to contain backlinks to what are known as authority sites; it raises the ranking on search pages. You’ve seen them in this article, such as one to the FTC, a government agency that isn’t selling you anything.

It’s also good marketing practice to link to sales sites. The issue is to do your own research and determine if the product, service, or offer being offered is right for you.

In general, just ask yourself if what’s on offer makes sense to both you and the party making the offer.

As with the telecommuting offers, make personal contact with the marketer. The real ones actually respond. They’ll also give you time to make up your own mind as to taking action instead of pressuring you.

Taking action is the focal point of success in the Dot Com lifestyle. Just make certain you’ve taken a hard look before you leap.

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