PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way Americans live and work. Now, scammers are targeting vulnerable people who are worried about their future.
In Pennsylvania, thousands of people are working from home and thousands are now without a job.
“Criminals are going to prey upon the desperation of people at these times and that makes it worse, in my opinion,” said Rob D’Ovidio, professor of criminology and justice studies at Drexel University.
In national disasters, D’Ovidio knows many Americans try to be generous and help out those affected.
“We see this all the time when there is a disaster,” D’Ovidio said.
Sites like the Vasty Health Care Foundation look legitimate but experts say they’re not. They were created weeks ago and meant to part caring donors with their cash.
“Do due diligence on the web. Scope out the sources online to make sure it’s a legitimate company and it’s existed for some time,” D’Ovidio said.
D’Ovidio says the same is true for those searching for employment. He recommends sticking with the major job sites like Monster and Indeed.
He tells job seekers not to believe any job posting on Facebook or email they may receive.
Finally, if you’re working from home, take precautions as well.
“The biggest problem are people that are moving into working from a home environment where they are not using computers, tablets that are being managed by their employer,” he said.
D’Ovidio says to avoid clicking links from senders you are not familiar with and to make sure your operating system and virus protection are up to date.
If not, there could be company-wide issues whenever we all return to the office.
“I really hope we don’t see a bunch of data breaches a few months down the road,” D’Ovidio said.
D’Ovidio says if you’re working from home, searching for a job or are interested in donating to those in need, make sure you do your research before you give out any personal information.