Portrait of an anonymous man in a black hoodie and neon mask hacking into a smartphone. Bright city background

A new email scam related to the COVID-19 pandemic is targeting small business owners, according to a recent post on Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website.

The FTC said scammers are sending emails where they claim to be from the "Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance." The bogus emails tell their targets that they are eligible for a loan up to $250,000. The real trouble begins when they ask the person or business being emailed for a date of birth and social security number.

The FTC said there's several indicators that it's a scammer on the other end of an email or phone call. 

1. An email or phone call asking for money claims to be from the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration or another government entity. The FTC said no member of the federal government or a federal agency will ever ask for money for prizes or unpaid loans. 

2. The phone call or email claims that the person or business being targeted is "automatically eligible for a big loan." Legitimate lenders of money never do this.

3. The email or phone call asks for a date of birth or social security number. The only calls or emails that ask for this are those that are trying to steal personal information.