This new credential harvesting scam impersonates a real U.S. Government COVID-related grant program to harvest credentials and personal details using a blatantly obvious Google form.

By now, you’d think that everyone checks the web browser address bar to see if that unexpected news that they can get free (yes, FREE!) money from the government is legitimate (spoiler alert: it’s not). Security researchers at Email Security vendor Inky have spotted a new wave of phishing attacks using familiar tactics from during the middle of the pandemic.

Under the guise of a small business grant, this scam includes a not-so-legitimate phishing email to start:

INKY Fresh Phish SBA Covid Grants 101222-3

Source: Inky

And then a clean, but not obfuscated, Google Form:


Source: Inky

To their credit, the threat actors behind this attack did do a cut and paste of a legitimate COVID-19 grant message. Once the form is completed, the victim is simply notified by Google Forms that their “response has been recorded”.

Small Businesses already are stretched thin, making it difficult to overcome the aftermath of cyber attacks, fraud, and business email compromise. This means it’s that much more critical for users of small businesses to be on guard – particularly in cases where an unsolicited email brings with it “too good to be true” news of free money from the U.S. Government.

Users can be taught what to look out for through continual Security Awareness Training that elevates their sense of vigilance and their understanding of how these scams work, look, and act.