How Criminals Capitalized on COVID-19 Relief Programs to Make Quick Cash
Small business owners across the country are facing fraud after receiving aid.
As a small business owner who faced the brutal financial hardships during the pandemic, you applied for some government aid to keep your business on its feet. Approved. Great!
But then – wait a minute. Months later, you receive paperwork in your mailbox referring to an additional loan amount. You didn’t apply for this one – surely it’s a mistake? Or is the government just feeling extra generous?
Unfortunately, the government didn’t just decide to give you extra cash you didn’t apply for. Someone else asked for it under your business’s name – and you won’t be the one receiving that money.
As the aftermath of a year-long pandemic unfolds, this scenario has been all too real for small businesses who are now realizing they have become victims of fraud. Criminals are ruthless about taking advantage of hard times, and when the government began rolling out relief programs during COVID-19, it was a no-brainer opportunity for them to scheme up a way to make some easy money.
Why it was way too easy for criminals to steal government aid.
When the pandemic spread through the country and devastated the economy, the U.S. government was working as quickly as possible to get relief out fast. There was such an immediate demand to dole out relief for small business owners that privacy and identity protection simply wasn’t taken as seriously and was therefore not strong enough. It was an easy opportunity for fraudsters to seize, and now, potentially billions of dollars are in the wrong hands.
In fact, some individuals reported they didn’t even have a small business and still received that dreaded notice of a loan being taken out in their name. All criminals needed were a few pieces of extremely sensitive personal information about an individual to make some quick cash.
What to do if you think you are a victim of identity theft.
There are plenty of “red flags” that indicate you may have had your identity stolen. If you receive an unexpected call or mail notice that you’ve been approved for a loan you didn’t apply for, that’s pretty much a dead giveaway.
If this sounds familiar, immediately contact the lender that issued the loan.
With IDShield, you have access to affordable identity theft protection.
Being a victim of identity theft can be devastating and extremely burdening to your time, reputation and spirit. Having peace of mind that your information is safe is critical. Learn more about IDShield.
IDShield is a product of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”). LegalShield provides access to identity theft protection and restoration services. For complete terms, coverage, and conditions, please see an identity theft plan. All Licensed Private Investigators are licensed in the state of Oklahoma. This is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations.
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