As PPP borrowers become public, will they also become targets?

Mnuchin: PPP loan recipients will be released by end of the week

FOX Business’ Edward Lawrence gives details on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony before Congress on economic recovery efforts.

The Trump administration has agreed to publicize details about Paycheck Protection Program loan recipients, which could make them targets for scammers and marketers, experts say.

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An administration source told FOX Business the information is expected to be posted online this week, potentially Thursday.

Borrowers with loans valued at more than $150,000 will have their business names, addresses and loan ranges disclosed, among other information.

Personal and private confidential details will be circulated among some members of Congress and select government agencies.

PPP DEADLINE APPROACHING: DON’T FORGET THESE OTHER RELIEF OPTIONS

Tom Miller, CEO of risk management firm ClearForce, told FOX Business that piecing together those bits of information into list form allows “bad guys to understand the value of a target.”

He added that personally identifiable information can be used for phishing schemes and other ways to target individuals.

Many of these small businesses are private companies, which means they aren’t regularly required to disclose financial information.

NAMES OF MOST PPP LOAN BORROWERS WILL BE MADE PUBLIC

“The first thing that came to mind for me was … okay, who would want that information and how would they use it,” L.J. Suzuki, founder of CFOShares.org, told FOX Business. “Obviously we live in an era where hackers and con artists are kind of abundant.”

While Suzuki said it is hard to predict what the fallout will be, he said the public information is a marketer’s “dream,” and “at the very least” business owners should be prepared for an onslaught of spam.

As previously reported by FOX Business, the SBA and Treasury Department announced last week that they would enhance the transparency of the program by releasing additional data about borrowers. That information includes business names, addresses, NAIC codes, business type, demographic data, nonprofit information, jobs supported and loan amount ranges for people who received more than $150,000. About 75 percent of loan dollars approved were above $150,000.

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Meanwhile, both Miller and Suzuki said that remote workforces have brought on their own sets of security challenges for businesses.

Miller noted that the rapid transition to tens of millions of workers telecommuting means that companies may not have been able to properly prepare for the fact that employees would be using their home Wi-Fi connections, which could be less secure.

Suzuki added that many people do not have complex passwords, and neighbors or hackers may be able to tap into the network gaining access to emails, passwords or login credentials.

Additionally, even trained workers may be more likely to click on phishing emails, with added stress causing people to make inadvertent mistakes.

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