People can vote for as many essays as they choose, but only get one vote per essay. Students are encouraged to share their essay with friends and family or on social media to generate more votes. Only votes from the scholarship website will be considered. Only one essay per state will be chosen to receive the $2,000 scholarship. 

Jacob Marshall Mitchell – A.J Dimond High School

Growing up as a young adult is very challenging. Many people ages 18-24 are expected to be pursuing some sort of higher education or vocational training, have a part time job, maintain their social status quo, while also living on their own for the first time in their life. It is a very overwhelming time of life. I speak from experience.

In the midst of this mindless hustle, adolescents are often the victims of scams. Scammers are looking to take advantage of a specific group of people. They are looking for people that are not protective of their information. They then seize this information in order to steal assets from this vulnerable group of people. The good news is, that there are specific ways to beat the odds against scammers.

The first tip is to be conservative about what you post on social media. If you do not guard information on your social media, crooks may be able to gather information about you and pose as a coworker, classmate, or neighbor. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to monitor both who has access to your social media and what
information i.e (location, age, date of birth) they have access to.

The next tip is to look into identification of a business. It is all too often that adolescents can be won over by the price tag perhaps without taking into consideration counterfeits, business fraud, or the presence of business licenses and insurance. This can especially be important when you hire professionals to work on your home, deal with your finances, or access your personal information. Adolescents can take precautions by reading consumer reviews at BBB.org or researching business accreditations.

With much of the consumer market moving to online purchases, I recognize the necessity to educate consumers on making sure their transactions are safe. In order to ensure the quality of the merchandise, there are a few steps consumers can follow. For example, consumers should always make sure that the website they purchase from has “https” in the URL and the small lock icon in the address bar. If you take these quick precautionary measures you can help protect your card information from fraud.

Although being conservative and safe as a 18-24 year old consumer might not be cool, flashy, or even expedient, following a few precautionary measures can help protect you as a consumer. Taking the extra 10 minutes a week to do your research before you purchase expensive goods, and practicing safe consumer protocol can go a long ways to keep you safe from scammers and fraud. The BBB is a viable resource to keep consumers safe while simultaneously participating in rapid consumerism.

About BBB Northwest + Pacific Torch Talk

Torch Talk is an online and printed resource for both consumer and business news. It serves as a tool for businesses and consumers to learn more about the latest news and scam alerts, helpful business tips, BBB events and programs, and more. For more information or to subscribe, visit trust-bbb.org/torchtalk/.