Fishing is awesome! Phishing is not! The SBA has become aware of a new ruse used by criminals targeting Small Business Administration (SBA) PPP loan applicants.
Criminals are using social engineering techniques to impersonate the SBA and its Office of Disaster Assistance, sending emails that appear to be from the SBA. The emails cleverly created to elicit a sense of urgency for applicants to click on a link and verify their accounts. The spoofed link leads to a forged website that looks like an official SBA online property.
What is a Phishing Scam?
Phishing scams are when someone emails you, pretending to be from a bank, and then it starts asking for your financial information. Sound familiar? Now replace the bank with the SBA.
How do you avoid phishing scams online?
A question that many people are asking because it’s easy to fall victim to these PPP and EIDL phishing scams. Always protect your personal information.
Do not click on website logins from email links until you can verify the site and the email’s sender. Criminals will even go as far as buying domains that look similar to the website they are spoofing to trick you.
Do not provide personally identifiable information like your full name, date of birth, Social Security number, EIN, address, email address, or phone number. If they can be used to identify you, treat it like gold.
Do call the SBA to verify any communication you receive from them. If you suspect received an SBA scam email, contact the SBA Office of Inspector General by calling their hotline at 800.767.0385.
Do keep informed of new scams that have been identified by the authorities. Being scammed is easier than you think, but being aware of your surroundings, even online, can keep you safe. And help you avoid a world of hurt as well as possibly saving you from financial ruin.
How can I avoid being scammed?
The key is to never give your financial information out online without making sure that you’re not giving it out to a scammer first. The best way to avoid phishing scams online is to verify every email asking for sensitive personal data.
The scammers tricked me; what now?
Contact the SBA Office of Inspector General by calling their hotline at 800.767.0385 right away! You should also place a call to the FBI and your local police department to file a report. Contact all three credit reporting agencies and freeze your credit, and calling your bank to freeze your accounts must happen as well.