What [Not] To Do (3) - Responding to COVID-19 for Youth Formerly In Care
This is "Post Three" of a series on COVID-19.
What to be wary of in the midst and after-math of COVID-19.
Whenever a crisis is occurring, or in the passing of a crisis, it is important to be wary of people and "projects" that may arise to exploit the public panic and lack of immediate resources. These cautions have been compiled with foster youth alumni in mind, but apply to the general public as well.
Job Advertisements Promising Unusually Large Amounts of Pay: this is a common scheme within the world of human trafficking. Advertising high paying jobs with vague descriptions of the job itself. Alternatively, posting a clear job description that is accompanied by a promise of pay that seems "too good to be true". You might see these advertisements online, posted around your community, or you may even be approached by a stranger or old acquaintance. This applies to labor and sex trafficking. If you don't feel comfortable with your understanding of human trafficking, please check this resource by Polaris, the a national leader in the fight against human trafficking. If you're concerned that you've seen a trafficking scheme, please report it to the Polaris hotline.
Wrongful Evictions: in the wake of widespread quarantines and hours/shifts/entire jobs being cut, there is a lot that may happen due to COVID-19. A wrongful eviction shouldn't happen. If there is no wide-spread call made by our federal or state government, at the very least be informed of some basic legal expectations laid out in this article. Should something happen that you believe to be a wrongful eviction masked as a COVID-19 strategy, we recommend contacting Legal Aid NC or your state's equivalent.
Utility companies are making vast efforts to help relieve the weight of monthly payments during this time, so it is imperative to arrange those payments as soon as possible. We recommend that you check with your utility company's website ASAP.
Donation Requests From Charities You Don't Recognize: this is especially true after any natural disaster. Individuals, posing as charities and making promises to help aid in the current crisis, will ask for donations from caring individuals, then will take the money, effectively "stealing" from crisis relief efforts. An easy way to check this is by searching the name of their organization on the internet, being especially careful to see if the donation homepage matches, if the spelling is correct, and if they have a history of using funds wisely. Here's a suggested list from Charity Navigator. If you're looking to give aid to former or local foster youth, feel free to contact us and we'll do our best to direct you to a local charity that can help.
Normal Financial Scams: for people who will be making dozens of phones calls in the midst of this crisis, and in the months that follow, it is important to be wary of traditional financial scams now masked by COVID-19. Here's a list from AARP of common scams, each listed scam has a "plan" to help you know how to avoid it.
For more suggestions and detailed information,