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. 

Mackenzie Lynn Shattuck – Connell High School

Business and charity scams steal billions of dollars from innocent people every year. It has been reported that since 2012, scammers have stolen four hundred and five million dollars from military families. Military families are a target of many scams that are posing to be a charity that supports the military. This is a cause near and dear to my heart. As the child of an Army soldier and member of a military family, supporting the military has great appeal to my family members and I. While these statistics are very sad, it is possible to decrease the number of scam victims by teaching people to only deal with companies and charities deemed trustworthy. In order for people to save themselves from scams it is important that they use programs designed to help them, learn to research companies before conducting business with them, and protect their personal information. These methods ensure the safety of people when researching companies and charities online.

The Better Business Bureau, founded in 1912, has a mission. Their mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust. They work to monitor businesses and charities: holding them to certain standards in order for the business to be accredited. The Better Business Bureau has created programs to help people ensure that they are dealing with trustworthy organizations. The BBB Start With Trust ® website and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance are both programs designed to help people protect themselves online and improve the credibility of businesses and charities.

Thoroughly researching organizations online is critical to dealing with businesses and charities. Most scams target specific groups of people. My family would be more apt to contribute to a charity concerning the military as my father is in the Army; therefore it is almost always advantageous to recognize others’ assessments of the organization you are researching. Learning of their experiences with charities or businesses is helpful in making decisions. The Better Business Bureau allows people to write reviews on businesses and charities. These reviews help people in determining whether or not the organization that they are researching is trustworthy.

When dealing with organizations that you are unfamiliar with, it is necessary to protect your personal information. It is often a red flag when an organization is extra quick to ask for personal information. Being asked for your social security number, credit card number, or other personal information is quite alarming. It is important to be aware of these red flags when researching organizations online.

Protecting yourself from scams is done through research. The programs that the Better Business Bureau have created are extremely helpful, there are resources online that are able to aid people in investigating organizations, and withholding all personal information is of utmost importance. Proper research is crucial to make sure that you are dealing with organizations that you can trust. By doing safe research online with the assistance of the Better Business Bureau, the safety of innocent people online will be ensured.

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/.