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Home Work Flunks

It's tough to get rich toiling at your kitchen table.

With jobs scarce and money tight, it's easy to succumb to come-ons that promise lucrative rewards for work you do at home. But you know the adage: If it sounds too good to be true.

In fact, in February the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on alleged con artists targeting job seekers -- especially work-at-home wannabes -- mostly through print and Internet ads. Companies swept up in Operation Bottom Dollar included one that promised $350 a week for mailing postcards and envelopes from home, a company that claimed people could earn $500 a week assembling angel pins (after spending hundreds on supplies), and promoters peddling prescreened lists of work-at-home job listings. The cases are pending. Other work-at-home pitches that should raise red flags include medical billing, online searches and rebate processing.

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Legitimate sponsors will tell you in writing what's involved in any program. Ask how, when and by whom you'll be paid, as well as what the work will cost you in terms of fees, supplies or equipment. Be skeptical of "success stories" and check out the company with your local Better Business Bureau. For a list of vetted -- but not guaranteed -- work-at-home providers, see RetirementJobs.com's Work at Home Guide at www.retirementjobs.com/rjcplus/wahguide.pdf.

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See the Kiplinger slide show 11 Ways to Get Extra Cash for legitimate opportunities to pocket more money.

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