Weekly business rail, with a BBB warning about swine flu scams, tips for unemployed workers and more.
The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be on the lookout for spam e-mail messages that take advantage of the public's concern about the swine flu but could contain malware, other computer viruses or are disguised attempts to sell products such as vitamins.
"Scammers are quick to latch onto whatever grabs the public's attention," says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois. "They know an e-mail about a hot, interesting topic will cause many people to open the message. That's the opportunity the scammer needs to infect a computer, go phishing for personal information or present an unwanted marketing message."
BBB offers the following advice to avoid swine flu scams:
- Avoid opening e-mail from an unknown source and do not click on any links in the body of the e-mail or open any attachments. Instead, delete the e-mail or report it to the Federal Trade Commission by forwarding the e-mail to email@example.com
- Don't believe online offers for vaccinations against swine flu, because a vaccine does not exist. For more information on swine flu and updates on progress in fighting the outbreak, go to www.cdc.gov/swineflu
- Make sure your anti-virus and anti-spyware software is up to date and all operating system security patches have been installed.
For more details on this scam and others, go to BBB.org.
Tip of the Week
The U.S. Labor Department said the national unemployment rate rose to 8.5 percent in March, the highest level in 25 years. Is it any wonder that many unemployed, underemployed and workers fearing the loss of their jobs are now considering going into business for themselves? But is self-employment right for you?
With unemployment figures continuing to increase, Dani Babb – author of "The Accidental Startup, Business Basics for the Chance Entrepreneur" and Fox Business, CNBC and CNN media personality – predicts so will the ranks of "chance entrepreneurs," those who find themselves suddenly out of work and unable to find another job. If you're among those ranks, it would be wise to weigh all the risks and benefits of becoming self-employed.
- A stable income
- No more fear of losing your job
- Additional income
- Freedom to make decisions
- Flexible hours
- The chance to do something you're passionate about
- Pride of ownership
- Earning potential
- Feeling of instability as your business struggles to grow
- Potential for failure
- Unforeseen costs
- Potential for long hours
- Lack of vacations
- Difficulty in building your business
- Blurring (or disappearance) of work/life boundaries
Forbes recently took a look at the top-earning CEOs. Here is their top-10 list (CEO name, company, pay):
1. Lawrence J. Ellison, Oracle, $556.98 million
2. Ray R. Irani, Occidental Petroleum, $222.64 million
3. John B. Hess, Hess, $154.58 million
4. Michael D. Watford, Ultra Petroleum, $116.93 million
5. Mark G. Papa, EOG Resources, $90.47 million
6. William R. Berkley, WR Berkley, $87.48 million
7. Matthew K. Rose, Burlington Santa Fe, $68.62 million
8. Paul J. Evanson, Allegheny Energy, $67.26 million
9. Hugh Grant, Monsanto, $64.60 million
10. Robert W. Lane, Deere & Co, $61.30 million
For more details, go to Forbes.com.
Quote of Note
"This abuse of trust, rather than the activity on Facebook, led to the ending of the work contract."
Swiss insurance company Nationale Suisse in a statement about the termination of a worker who called in sick, saying she was too ill to sit in front of her computer but was discovered to be active on Facebook that day.
Number to Know
6.1: Percent that the economy shrank in the first quarter.
GateHouse News Service