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. 

Erin Elizabeth McKinney – Bozeman High School

Safety in a Modern Market

In the modern world, it’s impossible to escape technology. With cookies on every website, media caters every pop-up to our taste, and it’s difficult to know whether you’re being led onto safe sites. However, trustworthy websites and organizations are not just leaving consumers to trip into a web of dark sites. Rather, they leave symbols for consumers to follow, helping us to find trustworthy websites. Symbols such as the Better Business Bureau Accredited Business logo, McAfee Secure, and PayPal Verified help consumers know which sites and organizations they can trust online.

One of the first symbols to look for in online shopping is the Better Business Bureau Accredited Business logo. The Better Business Bureau is a non-profit organization committed to ensuring companies function under ethical guidelines. The organization’s motto “start with trust” reveals the team’s mission to create a safe space for the modern consumer. To meet accreditation standards, the BBB requires companies to abide by ethical business practices, such as honest advertising and protecting customer privacy. This logo makes it easy to find trustworthy sites and avoid those that aren’t. The Accredited Business seal on a website is a powerful sign of trust for consumers, helping to keep the world of online shopping safe and ethical.

Another symbol to look for is McAfee Secure. On some websites, you might think you are clicking on a cute sundress, but in reality, you are allowing a virus into your computer. While you browse the site, this virus is touring your computer’s history and taking advantage of you. McAfee Secure ensures this “phishing” never happens. To become McAfee Secure certified, sites must be tested to be free of malware, viruses, phishing attacks, and other harmful devices. This means consumers can safely browse websites, knowing McAfee is on the prowl for any online predators. McAfee Secure is a prominent symbol that helps consumers feel protected for the duration of their online shopping experience.

A final check on website security is PayPal Verification. PayPal helps ensure your safety even after you have made a purchase. PayPal keeps your transaction secure by acting as a sort of middle-man, preventing sellers from seeing all of your financial information. They monitor every transaction, 24/7, with special encryption that helps keeps consumers guarded from start to finish. In the event of a suspicious charge, PayPal is easily contacted. If a problem, such as a fraudulent charge, does occur, PayPal will put the funds on hold until the issue is thoroughly investigated. PayPal ensures that around the world, “sending, spending, and selling [is] simple and secure.”

As the modern market shifts towards the digital world, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between trustworthy and untrustworthy companies. Many companies sell inferior goods for high prices, or even take your money and don’t ship anything. In this market, it is paramount that consumers find symbols of trust, such as the Better Business Bureau, McAfee Secure, and PayPal verifications. These symbols guide consumers to a safe and reliable shopping experience.

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/.