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Yearly archive for 2011.

I've been looking for an "at home" business I can do, and I found a company online that makes dollhouses. Here's how it works: I send them $50.00, and they send me the materials and plans to make the dollhouses. When I'm finished making a dollhouse, I ship it back to them, and they sell it, taking a commission off the top. It seems like it's a good deal, but how do I know if I can trust them?

King Solomon once said, "A good name is to be more desired than great riches, Favor is better than silver and gold." And that ancient wisdom is the answer to your question. You will know them by the reputation they have in the business community. If I was in your position, the first thing I would do is run a search for them in a search engine.

Just go to Google and type the name of the company. Now, if they are company with a bad reputation, you will find web pages of clients upset with them, complaining about how badly they have been treated. If you find lots of those kinds of pages, be suspicious. Of course, it's possible that they haven't been around long enough to have developed a reputation. You'll be able to tell this because a search in google doesn't turn up many results. And if they're really new, you may not even find their own web page in google, let alone any links to it.

If you can't find them in google by typing in their business name, you should probably be suspicious that this are not a well established business. Being a new business isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, every business was--at one time or another--a new business. But you should be aware of it; if the business has just started out, it may be a fly-by-night operation which will be bankrupt long before you get those dollhouses finished!

Finally, I would check their website for contact information. Not just email address, but also physical address and telephone number. If they don't have that information posted, I wouldn't do business with them. And if they do have it posted, it wouldn't hurt to give them a call, just to verify that they've posted a real phone number. So, in summary, if you are nervous about doing business with an online company, you should do all the following:

1. Check their reputation. 
2. Check to see how long they've been around.
3. Verify that they've provided legitimate contact information.

I have been getting undeliverable emails sent back to me to email addresses that I do not recognize. In the last three days I have received emails from two individuals asking me if I was a spammer. Can you please tell me what the heck is going on??????

Imagine 3 people A, B, and C. A knows B, and B knows C, but A and C do not know each other. In this scenario, B has both A's and C's email addresses stored on his computer. Now person B gets a virus on his computer, and the virus creates an email message, randomly grabs two email addresses, puts one of them (A) into the "from" line, and the other (C) in the "to" line, and sends the email off.

Now person C gets an email from A, a person he doesn't know, and assumes A is a spammer. He sends a nasty email to A saying "are you a spammer?" That answers the second part of your question. To answer the first part, imagine that person C has changed his email address, so the email address the virus sends to is invalid. So what happens? Since the virus has forged A into the "From" line, it is A who gets the "delivery failure" notifications, even though he never sent out an email. Is there anything you can do about it? Not a thing. Sorry.

Somebody, maybe more than one somebody, is faking my email address and sending out potentially illegal spam. You said to grin and bear it when somebody forges your email address but I don't want the authorities knocking at my door over this. Is there any new technology to help me out?

Remember that every email has a path it travels, which can be found by looking at the "options" for the email. For example, the email you sent me has the following path: [Email information snipped] Now, that may look like a lot of garbage to you (it certainly does to me) but the fact is, once the email leaves the forger's computer, he has no control over that information. So the "authorities" could always tell whether or not this really came from you. You only have something to worry about if you really are the sender.

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