ALL NEWS

Scammers target immigrant and refugee businesses seeking COVID-19 aid

Apr 8, 2020, 4:58 PM | Updated: 5:10 pm

COVID-19 contact tracing scammers...

Texts claiming to be from the Health Department are the latest trick scammers are using (Image credit: Getty Images)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new scheme is making the rounds: scammers target immigrant and refugee-owned businesses in Salt Lake County who are trying to get COVID-19 business loans.

Many small businesses impacted by COVID-19 coronavirus await federal loans to help them through the tough times.

Salt Lake County Economic Development Director Blake Thomas says the scammers pose as someone who can help get those loans.

“Some small businesses were receiving offers that for $2,500, individuals or organizations would help [them] apply for federal stimulus funding or help move them up in the queue,” Thomas said.

But it’s all a fraud.

“That is predatory behavior,” Thomas said. “These are federal and local loan programs for small businesses that do not have fees attached. They’re very straightforward applications, and there is no moving anyone up in the queue,” Thomas said.

Refugee and immigrant-owned businesses started reporting the scam right away. But Thomas worries about business owners who are not fluent in English. They could be a bigger target.

“The Paycheck Protection Program, the federal loan program that was part of the stimulus package, and then also the Small Business Administration has economic injury disaster loans. Much of that [paperwork is] in English,” Thomas said.

It’s unclear how many businesses have been targeted. But Thomas says it seems to be happening more and more across the United States.

That’s why Salt Lake County has been posting warnings about the scam in multiple languages, including Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic. They are also encouraging business owners to report the scam to law enforcement.

Business owners who have questions about any loan programs are encouraged to call the Salt Lake County Business Relief Hotline at 385-468-4011 or, if they need to speak to someone in another language, to email  covid-business@slco.org.

 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus 

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading: 

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.  
  • Don’t touch your face. 
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet) 
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.) 
  • Get a flu shot. 

Resources for more information: 

State of Utah:  https://coronavirus.utah.gov/ 

Utah State Board of Education 

Utah Hospital Association 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization 

Cases in the United States 

 

 

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

An official ballot drop box is pictured outside of the Salt Lake County Government Center on March ...

Becky Bruce

Research: Threats, harassment of local officials up 55% since 2022

Princeton University's Bridging Divides Initiative performed the research with Civic Pulse, surveying local elected officials nationwide about their experiences with threats. 

2 hours ago

...

Ike Yospe

Dating at Her Age, a new KSL Podcast from Debbie Dujanovic

Editor’s note: This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. SALT LAKE CITY — “In 2024, dating is a disaster,” says KSL’s Debbie Dujanovic. Where dating apps […]

9 hours ago

Southbound traffic on Interstate 215 near 4700 South is being diverted because of a box truck that ...

Michael Houck, KSLTV.com

I-215 southbound traffic halted after box truck fire

Southbound traffic on Interstate 215 near 4700 South was being diverted because of a box truck that caught fire Wednesday afternoon.

11 hours ago

Outside of Bonneville High School...

Heather Peterson

Bonneville High School opens new teen center to help students in crisis

Bonneville's new teen center has a kitchen, laundry, a shower, and a food pantry as well as a living room area, and study rooms.

13 hours ago

Utah lawmakers begin addressing several issues in a special session called by Gov. Spencer Cox....

Aimee Cobabe

Utah House passes bill requiring government to comply with Utah law, not portions of federal Title IX law

One of the biggest issues involves a bill passed during the regular session, having to do with the future of a coal power plant in Delta, Utah. 

13 hours ago

Ruth Zurcher Worthen, of Cache County, Utah, is accused of multiple counts of child abuse stretchin...

Simone Seikaly and Becky Bruce

Grandmother arrested in Cache County for aggravated sexual abuse of a child

Cache County resident Ruth Worthen faces 23 felony charges related to child sex abuse accusations, which come from several relatives over a 30-year period.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Scammers target immigrant and refugee businesses seeking COVID-19 aid