New scams targeting small businesses and the unemployed

New scams targeting small businesses and the unemployed

It’s not just the coronavirus relief checks that scammers are targeting. They’re leaving no stone unturned when it comes to finding new victims and they’re targeting some of the most vulnerable people among us during these uncertain economic times.

In Maine, U.S. Senator Susan Collins is warning her constituents about a scam that is targeting small business owners. Many small businesses are seeking relief through the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act. The Act was passed in order to help small businesses keep paying their employees during the current crisis. Scammers have been approaching small businesses telling them that they need to pay a fee in order to apply for a paycheck protection loan. That is incorrect. There is no cost to apply for the program. You can find more information about the Paycheck Protection Program at the website for the US Small Business Administration.

Speaking of employees, the Better Business Bureau is warning that scammers are also targeting the unemployed. Many scammers are setting up phony websites designed to fool victims into thinking they’re applying for unemployment. In reality, the victims are just handing over their personal and financial information. The BBB recommends always looking for the green lock icon in your browser’s address bar to make sure you’re using a secure site. Also, most state government websites in the US end in .gov or .org.

Lastly, we’ve seen more reports of scammers posing as utility companies threatening to shut off service. Most utility companies will not call you to tell you that service is being terminated. You should receive a warning in the mail before the service is terminated. Many utility companies across the country have suspended service terminations during the current crisis. If you have a concern about your service being terminated, call your utility company directly.