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. 

Mong-Phi Dao Le – Capital High School

Scams and fake businesses target everyone regardless of their backgrounds, ages and income levels. All of us may be vulnerable to a scam at some time. Scams are easier to fall for than one would think and no one really truly warns us what can happen. A lot of them prey on ignorance and familiarity. Therefore, it’s extremely important to educate ourselves and other people around us to identify and acknowledge warning signs and how to best utilize Better Business Bureau (BBB) to stop us being one of the victims in the future.

Since phone numbers, email and addresses are easy to fake. One should call the local and national industry organizations associated with the address to see if there is a real bricks and mortar company as industry organizations can provide relevant information to the public about its members and the specific businesses that have successfully registered with them. If it is possible, an in-person visit to the company’s brick and mortar location would be even better to communicate directly with management and ownership to determine if a company is trustworthy as well as to check for permits, licenses, certifications and approved registration documentation to see if they are up to date and clearly on display for customers.

 The Internet is also very useful to check the company’s website for legitimacy and professionalism. It is a fake business when the website is unprofessional with numerous stolen images and spelling errors or loaded with stock photos. One also should beware of how the company accepts payments. Be suspicious with insecure payment methods when the company only accepts paper check or cash because most companies offer payment methods that allow us to get your money back if things ever go wrong and do not require the release of unnecessary personal information. There is an opportunity to access to many consumer review platforms through the Internet as well that reflect the opinion of various customers and usually provide an unfiltered view of a company’s overall reliability.

 Last but not least, one of the safest and most convenient ways to check the legitimacy of a company is through the Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has both local and national branches that are committed to providing consumers with relevant and useful information regarding businesses operating within their communities. The BBB’s website allows everyone to search for specific business names, and also provides general information regarding scam and fraud trends.

In conclusion, we should always be careful before releasing any personal information and when it comes to dealing with money with a company that we do not know or have not heard about. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is how I protect yourself and my family to ensure that I am dealing with a trustworthy company as the organization is driven by the ability to deliver consumers to companies they can trust and informs them valuable insights into a company before making a decision to make sure we all make smart choices.

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/.