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Trusting Companies

It's safer and smarter to distrust any company–and especially any webservice–until and unless you find enough evidence to show they are legit and worth your time and money.

Why You Can't Trust Them

Motives

Companies do all kinds of crazy things like offer rebates, extended warranties, mug you of your password, etc. that aren't illegal, but aren't really done to benefit you. Instead, they make money or learn more about you or both.

Historically and with few exceptions, companies do anything they can that is allowed by law to make money, no matter the consequences or effect on customers, employees, or even the company itself.

Consider:

Do I really need to go on? I could list hundreds and hundreds of examples of companies abusing everyone in the world and pillaging everything they can, but I hope you can see the point.

In each case, the only thing that stopped these abuses were laws and regulations. Competition never can because ethical companies cost more.

There are very few companies with any kind of morality out there, but if you do find one, support them as much as you can.

Privacy Protection

Hopefully you're already aware how Data brokering is big business. Almost any company you do business with sells your information to other companies so they can tag and brand you like cattle.

There's always some new scheme or trick that companies will use to learn more about you so they can tailor marketing or at least sell you and your family.

Carelessness

Consider TJX who famously lost millions of people's credit and debit card information due to security negligence. Or AOL's equally famous mistake of posting private search records on the Internet.

Companies often don't secure their networks properly, or make stupid choices that harm us. For many, many more examples, check out the Data-loss database online.

Employee Abuse

Even IF you could trust the company's motives and practices, the employees may go rogue and steal or sell your data themselves. Or perhaps they can use it to spy on you or do other mean things.

How to Know Who to Trust

Search them!

Perhaps you feel this is paranoid, but don't judge too quickly. I've personally made the mistake of putting a webstore on my gift registry as the source for something I wanted, but not long after, my brother called to say he did a quick web search and found out that the store was a scam operation.

Talk about embarrassing. I'm the computer security expert (supposedly) and yet I hadn't even bothered to do a simple web search.

It's pretty easy, try a search for the name of the company paired with "sucks, scam, ripoff, evil" etc. As an example, check out this listing from the search "Lifelock sucks".

You should be able to sort through the angry meaningless rants and legitimate complaints pretty quickly. Either way you'll get valuable data in a hurry that will help you to know whether to trust them or not.

Size and permanence

A large, vested company that couldn't restructure, leave the country, or disappear quickly and easily, is more likely to deal with you fairly than one that doesn't.

Consequences

If a company cheats you, there needs to be some punishment that is swift, effective, and consistent. While that doesn't always happen, the better we get at making it so companies have no benefit in abusing people, the less they will.

Technically we already have regulatory agencies, but they are often slow, inefficient, or outright corrupt.

In the short-term, you can protect yourself by using credit cards for many of your purchases or just treating all companies as if they could turn on you at any second.

2 Comments to “Trusting Companies”

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Trusting Companies… I don’t trust any large company, they constantly profile their employees, which is dangerous. Then sell their employee profiling to anyone including the credit bureaus, it’s insane

I tend not to trust any business that has entered the stock market. Because if it did, then it is controlled by shareholders, and they are by definition “in it for the money alone”.

Only if a business is entirely owned by people who created it (or someone with similar mindset) will I even consider giving them a chance to prove that “users”, “quality”, “security” or anything of that sort is actually their top priority.

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