23 May PPP Loan Forgiveness and Texting Scams
There have been numerous updates throughout the past week and as we’ve said before, the situation is fluid. However, there is some critical information that we wanted to bring to your attention.
New Guidance from the Department of Treasury
It was announced that the Department of Treasury will issue additional guidance today (May 22, 2020) in the form of a 25-point FAQ. We anticipate clarification on a number of outstanding issues related to Paycheck Protection Loans and the forgiveness application process released last week. We will post this information as soon as it’s available.
Senate to Vote on PPP Loan Forgiveness Extension
Last night, it was announced that the Senate is discussing the possibility to extend the time in which borrowers can use the Paycheck Protection Loan from the existing 8-week period to a 16-week period. This time requirement as it relates to use of the funds is a key element in loan forgiveness. This extension impacts the loan forgiveness calculations and tools we have made available (see below).
ALERT: Text Messaging Scam
As the outflow of information about COVID-19 has increased, unfortunately, so has fraudulent activity. You may have noticed an increase in calls or emails from unknown sources. More recently, there’s a new type of scam being delivered via text message that’s taking advantage of the current fear of COVID-19. The texts include a request for personal information or links to a fraudulent website. Here are three of the more frequent scams:
- COVID-19 Exposure. The text message states that someone you know or have come in contact with has contracted COVID-19 and you should be tested. The text includes a link for more information which asks for personal information or attaches malware which leads to identity theft. This has been the most heavily reported scam.
- Quarantine Violation. This text message, at a glance, seems more important because it looks as if it is coming from a government agency. This scam is targeting people in states with strict quarantine rules. The text states that you have been caught violating the quarantine restrictions and may be subject to a fine. Again, like the previous scam, the individual will be given a link which asks the individual to input financial information to pay this so called fine.
- Financial Relief. These text messages also claim to be sent from government agencies and offer the individual additional funds or stimulus checks to help pay for bills and services. If you would like the opportunity to get this “free” money, all the individual needs to do is provide the sender with their banking information. Unfortunately, the text is fake and now the scammer has direct access to the individual’s bank account.
As this pandemic continues, so too will fraudulent activity. Please be extra cautious about any links sent via text or email, as well as requests to give personal or financial information over the phone. No government agency will contact you in this manner nor will they ask for financial information via text or phone. The best practice is to delete suspicious text messages and block the number. Check with your service provider to see if they have additional safety measures to block this activity. And, share this information with friends and family, particularly with elderly family members who may be more vulnerable.
If you have any questions, contact gish SEIDEN at (818) 854-6100.
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