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. 

Emily Jo Daniels – Bozeman High School

Online shopping is an activity that is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s technology-reliant society, for better or for worse. Currently, consumers are able to seek out and purchase whatever they desire from the internet. But although the ease with which items can be obtained from online is beneficial to many people, it also poses the problem of incurring a greater influx of scams and fraud. For that reason, it is of the utmost importance for consumers to be aware of the differences between trustworthy websites and ones that have the possibility of spreading falsified information regarding retail.

One way that I make sure an online business is trustworthy is by ensuring that the business is scored well on the Better Business Bureau. By searching up any business on the BBB website, you’re able to see if it is accredited by the organization, which tells you how the business interacts with customers, and if they respond well to customer complaints. You can also see different reviews that real-life customers have given the business, which is helpful because it informs you on how interacting with the business will be. If a business interacts well with its customers, it is highly likely that that business is more trustworthy, and that they will be less likely to scam people or commit fraud. Also, if they respond well to complaints, it shows that they consider themselves liable for any malpractices the business is correlated with.

Similarly, it’s easier to tell if a website or online business is trustworthy based on the layout of their page. A few things can key a customer in as to whether or not the site can be trusted, such as if there is a lock icon on the right hand side of the search bar, or if the domain name contains “https” instead of “http” or something else. Likewise, it is easier to determine if a business is trustworthy if they have a contact page, or a way to get in touch with the owners, because it shows that you can have discourse about any problems you might have with the real owners.

Another way in which I determine if a business is trustworthy is by inspecting reviews and consumer reports on the website or by doing a search online. If there are many positive, real reviews correlated with the site, then I am much more likely to put my trust in the business. I also make sure that the reviews are not scams, and that they seem like they were written honestly by real consumers. I actually tend to put more trust in a business if they have some varying reviews and not a whole host of solely positive ones, because it shows that they are being reviewed by real, everyday people.

To conclude, all of these examples may be great tools in determining which businesses can be trusted, but the key is finding a way to educate consumers on how they can utilize these tools themselves.

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/.