BBB TIPS: Technology and Trust

Marjorie Stephens is the president/CEO of Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Indiana.(ARCHIVE)

In last week’s article, I wrote about the importance of trust in our marketplace which is changing rapidly, both in brick & mortar and online. Regardless of how we shop, or what social media sites we use, trust must be at the helm of our lives. That includes the developer and user of the product. If a company does not hold to ethical standards, there should be accountability to those hurt during the process.

The Facebook debacle has been a hot topic in the news, but Facebook is not the only company that develops detailed consumer profiles to use and sell for various types of targeting. I am not giving them a pass because what they have been doing is questionable, but it pulls the curtain on a common practice that is often swept under the rug.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns consumers and businesses of the many scams that take place when we go online, use our smartphones or any technical device that gathers the user’s private information and personal security.

In this age of rapid technology, we cannot turn back the clock, but we can be more nimble about our approach. If you use social media, don’t put your date of birth and other personal information on it. And no matter what your privacy settings are on, you don’t have control over information about you that is posted by your “friends.” Don’t let everyone know your vacation plans, where you are going and for how long. Don’t open every available link or “Like” everything sent to you.

Be cautious about making purchases while using a public Wi-Fi connection at places like a coffee house. Trouble may be brewing, and that goes for doing any financial business online.

Protect your smartphone as they do not have the same type of data encryption often installed on computers. Enable your phone’s password lock feature so that if it gets lost or stolen, it will be harder for the thief to access private information.

How we love loading apps on our phones to make our lives easier. But beware of what you are loading onto your phone. There are steps you can take to make sure what you are installing on your phone is okay. Ask someone who understands the tech world to help you.

Know the Gestures of Trust that make our community one of outstanding integrity:

• Honesty builds trust the most, and without it trust does not exist at all.

• Being proactive by anticipating what our customer might want or need and work together to achieve that to the benefit of both.

• In taking the benefit of both further, be equitable. It is not only about one party, but about the entire situation. Consider this: Is this what I would want or expect if I were the consumer? And, for the consumer, am I doing right by the business?

• Transparency shows that either side has nothing to hide.

• Humility is knowing that without customers, you wouldn’t be in business. Stand by your promises and treat your customers with the respect and good customer service they deserve.

Trust is essential in every aspect of our lives. Call BBB at 1-800-552-4631 if you need somewhere to turn for guidance.

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