Small business dept warns SMMEs of scams

Lockdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus have silenced the cash registers of many German shops and restaurants that are are now more than ever looking forward to your next visit. AFP/File/John MACDOUGALL

The department says it is aware of suspicious email messages attempting to take advantage of the Covid-19 relief funding for SMMEs by soliciting administration fees to fast-track applications.

The department of small business development (DSBD) has warned small, medium and macro enterprises (SMMEs) against fraudulent agencies purporting to be entities of the department.

“It has come to the attention of the department that an unknown company is requesting food producers and agro-processors to send through proposal to an e-mail address not known by the department, Small Enterprise Finance Agency SOC Ltd (SEFA) or Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda),” said the department on Monday.

The DSBD said it was aware of suspicious email messages attempting to take advantage of the Covid-19 relief funding for SMMEs by soliciting administration fees to fast-track applications.

“Cybercriminals use emergencies such as the national disaster to steal money from victims, perform identity theft or pretend to be representatives of the department and its agencies using fake emails to scam unsuspecting recipients,” the department said.

The public should note that the department will not be launching any live market access session on Facebook.

“No employee of the department is paid either through emails, inboxes, direct messages for services rendered on behalf of the department. The facilitation to access services for SMMEs is done for free,” the department said.

Any SMME who receives such a request must immediately report the incident to the Covid-19 Hotline 086 677 7867 or send an e-mail to info@dsbd.gov.za.

Information related to the department can be found on these official websites: www.dsbd.gov.zawww.sefa.org.zawww.seda.org.za; or www.mybindu.org.za.

SMMEs are encouraged to register their businesses on www.smmesa.gov.za.

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