With small businesses financially vulnerable right now — and as the U.S. Small Business Administration is sorting its way through applications for the Paycheck Protection Program — the time is ripe for scam artists and email phishing attacks to start hitting business owners’ inboxes. Nationwide members have alerted us to a number of these instances, and we wanted to bring it to your attention. Below is an example of an email sent to a retailer, purporting to be from the SBA. But look a little closer, and notice some of the inconsistencies and other signs that clearly point to this being a fake. Scroll down a little further and you’ll see our “solution” to this riddle.
Before jumping into the emails themselves, here are a couple of good rules of thumb should you find one of these in your inbox:
- DO NOT, under any circumstances, click on any links or download any attachments in the email
- Do not provide sensitive personal information (like usernames and passwords) over email. Ever.
- Mark the email as spam or junk to increase the likelihood that it is filtered out of your inbox in the future
- Delete the email
- Report the email to a supervisor, a superior, or — in this instance — pass it along to the SBA so they are aware of the phishing attempt
- If the sender is listed as a colleague or coworker, notify them of the attempt
- Some email clients (Outlook, Gmail, Apple) will allow you to report the phishing attempt to them directly so they can flag the sender
Now, on to the fun stuff.
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Rob is the corporate communications manager for Nationwide Marketing Group.