Weekly business rail, with tips on staying safe while shopping over the Internet, BBB advice on holiday jobs and more.

Tip of the Week


Identity thieves, spammers, hackers and other online evildoers will have a lot to be happy about - and plenty of opportunities - this holiday season. Protecting your PC - and all the personal information it either holds or transmits for you on a daily basis - is more important than ever during the holidays. To avoid falling prey to online threats this holiday season, follow these simple steps:


1. Use security and anti-virus software. Having Internet security software on your PC is a must. Without it, your computer is at risk from hackers, viruses, spyware and other programs, commonly called "malware" that are designed to steal your personal information or otherwise cause you problems. Many Internet security products, like AVG Internet Security, offer free versions that you can download online. If you like the product, you can pay to upgrade to a full version with additional protection features like anti-virus and anti-spyware, anti-Spam, identity protection and a firewall.


2. Protect your privacy. Before you type any personal, identifying information into a website's form, read the site's privacy policy first - no matter how long and dull it seems. You may be surprised by what you find. If a site's privacy policy tells you the site will share your information with others, you may want to do business elsewhere.


3. Be a savvy online shopper. The American Bar Association recommends you always use a credit card for online purchases, rather than a debit card, money order, cashier's check, certified check, direct bank withdrawal or C.O.D. Federal law limits your liability to just $50 if an unauthorized charge shows up on your credit card statement. Some websites and card issuers will even pay that amount for you in the event your card number was used illegally.


- ARA


BBB Watch


Job hunters may get an early present this year as retailers look to increase the number of hires during the holiday season. Competition for these jobs will likely be fierce, and the Better Business Bureau recommends applying early and taking steps to put your best foot forward. The BBB offers the following tips for job hunters this holiday season:


- Start the job search earlier rather than later.


- Research the companies to which you submit job applications.


- Work where you shop.


- Put your best foot forward.


- Be flexible.


For more holiday tips, visit www.bbb.org. 


The List


Here are the world’s most powerful people, according to Forbes.com:


1. Chinese President Hu Jintao


2. President Barack Obama


3. Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud


4. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin


5. Pope Benedict XVI


Number to Know


2.2 percent: Growth in the U.S. economy expected in the first quarter of next year, according to a Reuters poll.


Tech Talk


According to the Nielsen Co., only 20 percent of people watch high-definition TV despite the fact that 56 percent of Americans have HDTVs.


GateHouse News Service