BBB: Scammers targeting small business owners seeking financial assistance during pandemic

Coronavirus: When will I get my stimulus check?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) said scammers are targeting small business owners as so many of them are struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.

The BBB said the fraudsters are pretending to be part of the federal programs meant to provide financial assistance.

There are federal grants and low-interest loans now available to help small business owners affected by the pandemic.

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“They’re just desperate for money so they are ripe for these sort of scams,” Senior Executive Counsel for National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Elizabeth Milito said.

Milito warns that business owners should never have to pay a fee to apply for the federal assistance offered under the Congressional stimulus packages and it should always go through the Small Business Administration.

"Businesses right now you know they need to pay their April rent,” Milito said. “Utility bills are due but there's not necessarily a quick fix you know we are in this for a longer haul."

The BBB said in some cases, scammers are contacting the business owners through Facebook pretending to be a friend who benefited from their fake program.

Small business owners are being urged not to fall for it and go through the proper channels for assistance.

"I think the uncertainty is one of the scariest things I’m hearing from members is when is this going to end? We just don’t have an answer,” Milito said.

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