This year’s pandemic has manifested an explosion of sickness, unemployment, and social alienation. There’s no doubt that there a lot of people out there suffering. The problem is, it also opened a convenient nexus for predatory people, businesses, and thoughts to prey on those who are vulnerable.
A few examples:
- Many businesses are preying on consumers this year by playing on the COVID pandemic. They may advertise a sale or offer which plays on these sentiments. But often their product or service was not great to begin with, they are insensitive to what is going on, or want to steal your info. A lot of charities are also playing on these sentiments but not all of them are genuine or intend to use your donations sincerely. The FBI just recently issued a bulletin advising about COVID charity scams (MOAA, 2020). The advice is simple but effective. DYDD: Do Your Due-Diligence! The ideal victim has disposable income, good intentions, and is scrolling through social media in the middle of the night, impulsively making decisions. Ask yourself the following question: After I have done the research, does the business or charity seem genuine and offer adequate value?
2. Outside of predatory businesses, there is a flurry of predatory individuals operating under a similar guise. With a lot of uncertainty and misfortune going on, they will play on COVID sentiments to get what they want. Whether it be people you know or strangers, they will often start with mentioning COVID to engage your sympathies and compassion, which will lead you away from effective reasoning and logic. If you’re a small business owner, employee, landowner, have any resources that someone may want to seize, operate with caution. Generally, if someone starts a complaint with a COVID excuse, it can be a red flag. Most people are too proud to lead a request that way.
3. Lastly, the greatest perpetrator of all, YOU! What responsibilities and priorities are you currently putting off because of “COVID”? Many people who are sick, grieving, struggling with finances are going to need to shelf some of their other goals, but others who are not struggling may be getting away with using the “COVID Excuse”. Basically, if any of your sentences start out with “Well, it’s been such a crazy year” or “next year is when it will happen”, you may be seriously undercutting yourself. Forget predatory people or businesses, we need to really watch out for the narratives we are creating to keep us from where want to be. If we are not one of the afflicted, there is no shortage of time to learn, grow, get healthy, get organized, exercise, read, or work hard. You should ask yourself, “What do I want out of life and what’s standing in my way? If I was rich and had no obligations, what would I do with myself?
This is not meant to be a judgemental scolding or cynical fearmongering, but more of a call to cautionary introspection. There’s no time like the present for thoughtful reflection and a mindful self-inventory. Don’t let the fear and uncertainty of current events sway your judgment in how you decide your time, energy, and resources. Increase your awareness to prevent falling prey to the “COVID Excuse”.