The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning small business owners of a potential scam.
One way scammers may try to get small business owners personal information is through fake Small Business Administration (SBA) grants.
BBB says victims will get an email, text or phone call that appears to be from the U.S. SBA. The scammers claim they are offering grants just for small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. After going through the process, BBB says victims are asked to provide a “processing fee” up to a few thousand dollars.
There have been several other reports of similar scams. Here are tips from BBB to avoid falling trap to a loan or grant scam:
Look for a website that ends in “.gov” or “.ca” and be cautious of those that don’t: Legitimate government entities will have websites and emails that end with “.gov” such as SBA.gov.
Double check emails from respected organizations: Unfortunately, respected organizations like SBA and BBB are being used in scams to get more consumers to give information. If an email has an offer that seems too good to be true, call the organization to double check the authenticity of the offer.
Do a quick internet search for similar offers: Many government agencies helping small businesses are offering loans and other programs. Be sure to confirm that the offer is real before sharing personal or business information. Find the agency website through an online search (never click on a link in an email) and be sure the program is on their website.
Government agencies do not typically text or communicate through social media avenues such as Facebook: Be wary of unsolicited messages. Recently, scammers have been hacking into people’s Facebook accounts and messaging their friends and family claiming they’re eligible for grants. Grants aren’t given as personal prizes.
You should never have to pay money to receive money: If you have to pay money to claim a “free” government grant, it is not really free. A real government agency will not ask you to pay an advanced processing fee.
Businesses typically don’t receive government grants: In general, the federal government only offers grants to nonprofits, educational institutions, and state and local governments. Learn more at SBA.gov.