COVID-19 Scam Alert: Here are Four Signs That You’re Being Scammed

We know that these times have been challenging for everyone, and the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the financial situation of both small business owners and consumers. Fortunately, stimulus packages have been created to help business owners and consumers get through financial hardships: A Paycheck Protection Program of $350 billion is being offered for small business loans; an Economic Impact Payment from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be paid to consumers. While that’s the good news, here’s the bad news: Even in times of crisis, scammers are still looking for new ways to steal information and money from you. Whether you’re a business owner or consumer, the experts at BHCU, your Delaware County credit union, are here with four signs that you’re being scammed.

Trust Your Gut When It Comes to Suspicious Calls or Email
Right now, scammers are posing as lenders, the Social Security Administration and the World Health Organization, and they are calling, texting and emailing people about deals that seem too good to be true. Messaging from these scammers will claim a variety of things, such as:

  • Your business being approved for a loan
  • An offer for a grant or stimulus payments
  • A COVID-19 kit
  • A coronavirus Medicare package
  • Claiming that your Social Security number has been suspended

These scenarios will always require you to give your information in exchange for what they are offering. If you receive a call, text or email that doesn’t seem right, trust your gut! These scammers are trying to steal your business’s private information — which they can use to apply for a loan under your name (which you’ll be responsible for paying) — or your identity and money. 

Feel Weary When There’s a Fee Involved
If you’re offered a loan or payment that claims you’ll receive it quickly — but with a fee — don’t trust it. Faster doesn’t always mean better, and in this case, it certainly doesn’t mean safer. In fact, the CARES Act states that business owners are not required to pay ANY fees, such as application, package or closing fees, so this is a sure sign that it’s a scam. Plus, if you’re eligible for the IRS’s Economic Impact Payment, the amount you receive will be automatic for most taxpayers (with NO fees), and if it isn’t automatic for you, you will receive a letter from the IRS.

Avoid Unknown Lenders
Although lenders aren’t required to be on SBA’s list of preferred lenders in order to process an SBA loan, they do have to have preferred status. If they don’t — and they aren’t scamming you — they’ll first have to achieve preferred status before granting you your loan, and this can take an unforeseeable amount of time. Avoid this altogether by choosing BHCU! With a variety of business loans, lines of credit and credit cards, we’ll do everything we can to get you approved, so you can keep your business — and your life — running efficiently and successfully. 

Steer Clear of Promises That Seem Too Good to Be True
Similar to scammers promising to get you a loan quickly (but for a fee), they may also try to convince you that they can get you an SBA loan under the new PPP — or a stimulus payment — in only a few hours. If this happens, avoid them at all costs. Additionally, if you’re offered a quick advance that isn’t related to the new PPP or Economic Impact Payment, you should avoid all of these as well, because they may result in fast repayment terms, outrageous interest rates and identify theft. In challenging times where you need help managing your financial expenses, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, your best and safest plan of action is to join BHCU and contact our financial experts.

Now that you know the four signs that you’re being scammed, you can avoid them and keep your business’s and/or personal information safe! If you need help navigating your finances during this time of uncertainty, we want you to know that BHCU in Delaware County, PA is here for you, so contact us today.