Coronavirus image via the Centers for Disease Control
Written by The Business Journal Staff
Scammers are taking advantage of confusion and fear during the COVID-19 crisis, targeting vulnerable populations and others.
Dawn Golik, executive director of the Fresno district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, issued a strongly worded warning about scammers posing as SBA employees trying to get financial information from business owners under the guise of applying for disaster loans.
Golik said unless first contacted by a borrower, the SBA will not contact a business owner seeks financial information.
“While situations like this bring out the best in most of us, they also bring out the worst in some people. I am disgusted that there are people who are using this current situation to try and take advantage of small businesses,” Golik said in a statement. “I am particularly concerned for our older business owners that may not comfortable using technology, those who do not speak English, and our immigrant entrepreneurs.”
Golik asks anyone is contacted or knows of a business that received a suspicious message, call or email, forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org. She will send them on to t he SBA’s Office of the Inspector General.
Assemblymember Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) sent out his own alert this week on a few of scams, including scammers claiming to be from the IRS seeking banking information for federal stimulus checks and people offering coronavirus cures and medical supplies.
“Scams succeed because they look like the real thing and will catch you off guard when you least expect it,” Patterson said in an email. “Be sure to stay alert.”
Patterson also warned about utility scams aimed toward customers.