Avoid COVID-19-Related Scams

Avoid COVID-19-Related Scams

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

We are all doing our best to navigate this unprecedented and confusing time, but unfortunately there are a number of bad actors trying to use this situation to take advantage of businesses and consumers.

The Better Business Bureau recently reported that some business owners have been contacted by someone posing as a member of the Small Business Administration (SBA). In one example, SBA impostors offered grants for small businesses affected by the outbreak. After completing an application for the grant, and perhaps providing banking and business information, the business owner was asked to pay a “processing fee." This is a scam – the SBA should not be contacting you directly. Do not respond.

However, if you are a small business owner in need of assistance, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce website has a variety of assistance options available to you. Small businesses may also be eligible for relief under the CARES Act, which contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses.

Additionally, some people are posing as members of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in an attempt to steal Hoosiers' federal stimulus money. The Indiana Department of Revenue has a few tips to help individuals identify scams to avoid falling victim.

You are most likely being scammed if who you are contacted by:

  • Emphasizes the terms “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The IRS uses the official term “economic impact payment.”
  • Asks the individual to sign over their stimulus check.
  • Asks by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information to receive or speed up their stimulus check.
  • Mails the individual a fake check and requests the individual to call a number or verify information online to cash it.

Hoosiers who believe they have encountered possible scams may file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by going online and clicking “File a Complaint.” If you need more information about services provided by the office, you may call 800-382-5516.