Small businesses in New England that have received federal payroll protection program loans are the targets of email scams.
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has warned businesses of a slight increase in the number of bogus emails linked to the US Small Business Administration’s publication last year of the names and addresses of more than 600,000 PPP loan recipients. Bay State.
Federal authorities have dealt with several types of scammers since the PPP program began last year and have warned small business owners to be on their guard.
“Scammers use this publicly available information to send phishing emails to PPP loan recipients, masquerading as the recipients’ PPP lenders to request sensitive information, such as email addresses and passwords. , social security numbers and financial information, ”according to Robinson + Cole’s Data Blog Privacy + Security Insider.
“This information could be used to gain access to a company’s computer network in order to compromise confidential information or for identity theft.”
The Hartford-based law firm advises small business owners to approach every email with caution, especially those with some form of “Payroll Protection Program” or “PPP” in the subject line, and take specific steps before opening them.
“PPP loan recipients should carefully review the headers of emails that appear to be from their PPP lenders to ensure that the domain of the sender’s email address matches the domain of other emails. received from the lender, “the company advised.
“They also need to use common sense to consider whether the lender is likely to contact the recipient at that time (for example, in response to a loan request or forgiveness), or whether the time seems to be over. related to other communications with the lender. “
Do not reply or click any links in suspicious emails.
If you are unsure of an email, or if you are unsure of the date or content, call your lender to verify.
The AABC has a wealth of resources for employers on cybersecurity, which is an issue for all businesses, but especially small businesses.