ALBANY, N.Y. — Scammers will take any opportunity to take advantage of a crisis, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer is warning about another one: predatory lenders going to people out of work and shut-down small businesses and offering loans with interest rates up to 800 percent.
Schumer says agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission need to step in and protect people.
Schumer says the lenders have been targeting New Yorkers by email with messages offering "COVID-19 financial relief" and "emergency relief funding" are trying to sound like government programs that are actually there to help.
"Interest rate loans that can hover around 800 percent aren’t just eye-popping, they’re downright shameful," Schumer said in a statement.
He added: "History has shown that sharks like these will stop at nothing to entrap people, and so the federal government must meet this new challenge to protect consumers and small businesses with the same vigor, and they better to do it fast."