The letter comes as the Small Business Administration (SBA) has been doling out forgivable loans to small businesses willing to meet certain conditions.
In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), former presidential candidates Warren and Klobuchar led a group of Senate Democrats in urging the agency to take action to defend small businesses, and to keep the businesses informed on how to defend themselves.
The senators asked that the FTC take “bold actions” to address the scams.
“We are calling on the agency to take stronger action to ensure that the huge population of potential victims—the nearly 60 million hardworking men and women who own or are employed by small businesses—are protected during this time of crisis,” the senators wrote.
The senators requested answers from the FTC around what steps the agency was taking to assist small businesses if they fall victim to the scams, how it is helping historically disadvantaged businesses, such as those in rural or minority communities, and whether the FTC needed additional resources to combat the scams.
The letter was also signed by Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Edward Markey (Mass.), Jacky Rosen (Nev.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Bob Menendez (N.J.).
Coronavirus-themed scams against small businesses, health care organizations and Americans receiving stimulus checks have surged over the past two months.
The Justice Department notified internet domain hosts of hundreds of potentially malicious websites set up as part of coronavirus scams, while the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received about 3,600 coronavirus-related scam complaints by mid-April. Hackers have also stepped up, targeting hospitals seen as vulnerable during the pandemic.