Nearly every one of us has, at one time or another, dreamed about starting our own business. Whether it’s to grow a second source of income, gain freedom from our employer, or be able to work better hours, home businesses offer lots of opportunities. If they’re for real that is.Unfortunately, many so called home business opportunities are actually just opportunities to be swindled. There are so many offers out there, and many of them are legitimate. But still more of them are people trying to take your money for little or nothing in return.Anyone can fall victim to a scam; you shouldn’t kid yourself that you are immune. And even if you do your best to protect yourself, you can still get cheated. But if you know what to look for, you are in the best possible position to take advantage of the legitimate offers and avoid the scams.The most popular sort of scam is the one that promises you the secret to riches and success, if you just front them a little money. It might be for training, or product, but it is always a bad sign. There are legitimate business that require start up capital, but they will provide you with information and tell you exactly what you are getting before asking for money.One popular form of business that requires start up money is buying into a franchise. Fast food chains and other chain business do require you to put capital into the business. But not until they have given you data about the company and answered all of your questions. If someone wants money first, stay away.There are some home business scams that actually do pay you something, but not nearly enough. You’ve probably seen ads that promise you thousands for stuffing envelopes or just sitting in front of your computer reading email. In reality, you would have to put in hundreds or thousands of hours in order to make anywhere near what they are promising.If you are tempted by a home business, first determine exactly what it is that you will be doing, and then estimate the number of hours it would take to complete each specific task. Figure out how much you will be making per hour, and then ask yourself if it is really worth it. If you’re looking at minimum wage or below, it’s not going to be worth starting your own business.Finally, just forget any offer that promises you riches for nothing. There is just no way to make big money without putting in some honest work. People who say otherwise are just hoping to run off with your money. If you do your homework and are prepared to put in the effort needed to make a legitimate business thrive, you will be much more likely to see through scams and avoid them.