According to officials with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there's a new coronavirus-related scam making its rounds, and it's targeting small businesses.
As Lesley Fair, a Division of Consumer and Business Education Attorney with the FTC, explains, the scam starts with an email that claims to come from the "Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance."
Fair explains that the fraudulent email tells the recipient they're eligible to receive a loan of up to $250,000 and asks for personal information.
Here are some indicators outlined by the FTC that reveal the email as a fake:
- You were told that you’re automatically eligible for a big loan.
- According to the FTC, real lenders never do this.
- You’re asked to hand over your date of birth and Social Security number.
- This is a tip-off that the sender is trying to steal your personal information.
"Check out lenders before sharing personal information. Scammers who impersonate lenders have the perfect excuse to ask you for lots of personal information that can be used to steal your identity," Fair advises. "Don’t leave a trail of personal information exposed by filling out lots of applications online with lenders you don’t know. Investigate lenders first and if you spot something amiss, stop."
COVID-19 fraud, scams, or bad business practices can be reported to the FTC. File a report by clicking here.