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Virtual Webinar for Grocery Workers & Employers in the Southeast Region

  • June 25th, 2021

Essential Work in Unprecedented Times

A virtual webinar for grocery workers & employers in the Southeast region

Please join the Wage and Hour Division and OSHA for this virtual webinar
as we discuss what compliance looks like in the pandemic
environment and beyond.

June 30th 1:00-3:00pm

Register Now

Download PDF

Advance Notice of Expiration: COVID-19 Movement of 90,000 lbs Gross Weight Vehicles on Five and Six Axles

  • June 25th, 2021

The Governor’s March 13, 2020 Proclamation of Public Health Emergency and subsequent Supplemental Proclamations, in particular the Supplemental Proclamation of March 20, 2020, will expire July 6, 2021

Accordingly, the April 6, 2020 memorandum “State of Alabama Public Health Emergency, COVID-19 Movement of 90,000 lbs. Gross Weight on Five and Six Axels **REVISION No.2** March 24, 2020 Version and All Earlier Versions are Superseded” will also expire on that same date.

After July 6, all five-axle and six-axle vehicles must comply with the applicable weight requirements of Title 32 of the Code of Alabama (1975).

Read the Advance Notice of Expiration and Associated Documents

ADOL Encourages Alabamians to Protect Information, Report Unemployment Fraud

  • April 23rd, 2021

News Release
For Immediate Release: April 22, 2021

ADOL Encourages Alabamians to Protect Information, Report Unemployment Fraud

MONTGOMERY – Alabama, like most states across the country, has been experiencing an increase in recent fraudulent activity related to unemployment insurance. This includes claims filed using stolen identities or unauthorized access to an individual’s account, as well as computer-generated claims from a single employer that exceeds the number of employees, or claims filed on behalf of employees that never worked at the business they are being filed against. Unemployment insurance fraud is a national issue, and ADOL is working closely with the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and other states around the country to share information regarding known bad actors or methods of attack.

It’s important to note that ADOL has not been compromised and personal information is not being obtained via the agency. Criminal organizations are using highly sophisticated algorithms and programs to attack states’ unemployment systems. Fraudsters are obtaining identity information from many sources, such as from fraudulent phishing scams or recent large-scale private sector breaches that included private information from millions of individuals. Social media and text scams have also been used to obtain information as fraudsters portray themselves as agents of ADOL.

ADOL is constantly developing new technology and methods to combat fraud and to prevent it from happening. This week, ADOL will roll out a new sign-on system designed to protect claimants’ identities. It will allow users to login using existing global provider sign-in information from Google, Apple, and Microsoft, and will provide a dual-authentication login.

ADOL is encouraging claimants to protect their personal information, sign-in credentials and passwords. Establish PIN and passwords that are difficult for an outside person or computer to generate (for example, avoid using the last four digits of your social security number or date of birth).
Please be on the lookout for any suspicious activity related to unemployment claims. Indicators of fraudulent activity can include:

• Mail from ADOL notifying you of a claim in your name when you have not filed an unemployment insurance claim.
• A 1099-G from ADOL stating you have income from unemployment insurance when you have not filed for or received unemployment insurance during the last calendar year.
• Text messages from ADOL asking you to verify your account. ADOL does not communicate via text message.
• Employers receiving claims notices on employees that do not exist, or never left the job.
• Anything you may suspect as fraudulent banking activity.

If you suspect fraudulent activity, please report it to ADOL via the website at www.labor.alabama.gov.
Additional information is available online from the United States Department of Labor.

Read on ADOL’s Website

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Members of the media seeking more information should contact Communications Director Tara Hutchison.

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Governor Ivey Issues New Safer Apart Order

  • April 7th, 2021

MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday issued her twenty-sixth supplemental emergency proclamation transitioning the state from an amended Safer at Home Order to a new Safer Apart Order, the third phase of COVID-19 pandemic health orders. Masks will no longer be mandated statewide, but individuals are strongly encouraged to wear a mask or other facial covering when in public and in close contact with other people. This order goes into effect at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 9, 2021 and extends until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.

Read on Governor’s Website

Mask Signage

SBA to Increase Lending Limit for COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans

  • March 29th, 2021

March 24, 2021 | Release Number 21-24

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration is increasing the maximum amount small businesses and non-profit organizations can borrow through its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Starting the week of April 6, 2021, the SBA is raising the loan limit for the COVID-19 EIDL program from 6-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $150,000 to up to 24-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000.

“More than 3.7 million businesses employing more than 20 million people have found financial relief through SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which provide low-interest emergency working capital to help save their businesses. However, the pandemic has lasted longer than expected, and they need larger loans. Many have called on SBA to remove the $150,000 cap. We are here to help our small businesses and that is why I’m proud to more than triple the amount of funding they can access ,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman.

Businesses that receive a loan subject to the current limits do not need to submit a request for an increase at this time. SBA will reach out directly via email and provide more details about how businesses can request an increase closer to the April 6 implementation date. Any new loan applications and any loans in process when the new loan limits are implemented will automatically be considered for loans covering 24 months of economic injury up to a maximum of $500,000.

This new relief builds on SBA’s previous March 12, 2021 announcement that the agency would extend deferment periods for all disaster loans, including COVID-19 EIDLs, until 2022 to offer more time for businesses to build back. In order to shift all EIDL payments to 2022, SBA will extend the first payment due date for disaster loans made in 2020 to 24-months from the date of the note and to 18-months from the date of the note for all loans made in the calendar year 2021.

Questions about SBA COVID-19 EIDL and disaster loan payments can be emailed to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov or directed to SBA’s Customer Service Center at
1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard of hearing).

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About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.­

Read on SBA Website

Governor Ivey Releases Mask Signage for Businesses

  • March 22nd, 2021

MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey on Monday revealed signage for business owners to encourage employees and patrons to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The current health order mandating statewide mask-wearing will end at 5 p.m. on April 9, 2021.

“After April 9, masks will no longer be a mandate, but they remain one of the most successful tools we have to keep folks safe from COVID-19,” Governor Ivey said. “I hope these are helpful to businesses around the state as they set their own protocols to operate safely. Masks are soon to be a memory but until then, let’s wear them out!”

Read More

Fraud Alert for Unemployment Insurance Claims

  • March 5th, 2021

On February 26, 2021 the U.S. Department of Justice issued a Fraud Alert for Unemployment Insurance claims after the issuance of erroneous forms 1099-G. See Issuance of Erroneous Forms 1099-G due to Fraudulent Unemployment Insurance Claims

The link provides information about fraudulent claims and links to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and state UI offices.

Fraud has become a significant issue not only for the temporary federally funded programs (e.g. PUA, PUCA and PEUCA) but also as the volume of regular unemployment compensation claims increased due to the COVID-19 recession. Increased fraud and overpayments are now being reflected in 1099-Gs sent to individuals with amounts recorded as having been paid to the individuals that were actually claimed and paid to others through fraud.

Business owners: Latest COVID scam is directed at you

  • January 14th, 2021

By: Lesley Fair | Jan 13, 2021 2:31PM

Fraudsters have concocted a new COVID-related scam and this time they have businesses in their sights. According to reports, business owners are getting emails that appear to be about government-sponsored loan programs. But they’re really phishing messages trying to trick people into turning over personal information. The FTC has tips on how to spot the latest scam and how to defend your company’s good credit – and your good name – against other coronavirus cons targeting businesses.

Here’s how the hustle works. An email appears in your inbox that claims to come from the “Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance.” According to the message, you’re eligible for a “personal/business loan of up to $250,000” and it’s easy to apply. Just fill in your name, address, cell phone number, date of birth, and Social Security number. The email is signed by a purported “loan specialist” at the SBA.

A little CSI-style investigating can help you spot aspects of the email that should move your Shady-o-Meter into the red zone.

A message from a government agency that shows up without any prompting from you? Given FTC warnings about government imposter scams, that should activate your deflector shields. An unsolicited “personal/business loan of up to $250,000” for which you’re already eligible? In your dreams, but not likely in the real world. A request for personal information, including birth date and Social Security number? Email, welcome to the trash bin.

What about the fact that there really is an SBA Office of Disaster Assistance, its mission really is – to quote the email – “to provide low interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes,” and the email appears to come from a legit-sounding “loan specialist”? That just proves the con artist knows how to cut and paste.

Phishing attempts aren’t the only form of financial deception that business owners are reporting. We’ve heard from companies that have applied for loans through websites that falsely claimed an SBA affiliation. That tactic has already resulted in an FTC law enforcement action and multiple FTC-SBA warning letters. We’re also hearing from business executives who have been contacted to repay loans they never took out. The likely culprits? Criminals who combined bits and pieces of stolen personal information to get a loan in someone else’s name or the name of their company.

To stay afloat in uncertain economic times, a lot of business owners are looking for capital either in the form of the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which has been extended to December 31, 2021, or from other lenders. Regardless of where businesses are looking to borrow, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself.

Check your credit report regularly. The worst time to learn that someone has taken out a loan in your name is when you’re applying for a loan yourself. So check your credit report before you start looking for a business loan and monitor it periodically. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com, the authorized source for the free reports consumers are guaranteed by law. In addition, the three major credit bureaus are offering free weekly online reports to consumers through April 2021. (Of course, if you’re not currently in the market for a loan, freezing your credit offers an extra – and free – measure of protection.) If you’re concerned that a loan may have been taken out in your company name, consider whether to check separate services that maintain credit reports about businesses.

Seek out reliable sources of information. Looking for a business loan? Don’t click on a link in an unsolicited email. And don’t play Financial Disaster Roulette by typing terms in a search engine and trusting what shows up on your screen. Scammers often bait their online traps with sound-alike names and URLs, phony endorsements, and professional-looking websites. The safest bet is to start your search at www.sba.gov, the official site of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Or reach out to a trusted financial institution in your community.

Check out lenders before sharing personal information. There’s a reason why info outlaws sometimes masquerade as lenders. It gives them the perfect excuse to ask for highly sensitive data – information that crooks use to get loans in an unsuspecting business owner’s name. So don’t leave a trail of personal information by filling out lots of online applications with lenders you don’t know. Take a more selective approach and investigate prospective lenders first. If you spot something amiss, file a report at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Follow the Business Blog for updated information about small business loans and COVID-related scams that could target your company.

Read on the FTC Website

Alabama Power offers payment plans for customers affected by COVID-19

  • August 19th, 2020

By Alabama NewsCenter Staff // August 18, 2020

Supporting customers affected by COVID-19 with tailored, customized solutions to meet their needs remains a priority as Alabama Power continues to navigate the pandemic. In a time that presents unique challenges, the company’s support of its customers and the communities it calls home has not wavered.

As part of continued customer support, Alabama Power is offering a new, easy-to-use payment plan service to help customers facing economic or medical hardships due to COVID-19. Payment plans allow customers to spread out energy bill balances over several months.

To enroll, customers can visit AlabamaPower.com/PaymentPlan or use the automated system at 1-800-245-2244 to check eligibility and set up a plan in a few simple steps.

Alabama Power will return to standard business operations for customers on Sept. 28. In addition to continuing to support organizations in the state through the Alabama Power Foundation’s $1 million pledge, standard business operations include the following services for residential and business customers:

Responsibly reopening walk-in services at Alabama Power business offices and Appliance Centers.
Continuing to work individually with customers on payment assistance resources.
Using multiple channels to notify customers behind on payments options to maintain service.
Since the state of emergency was declared in March, Alabama Power has not disconnected or charged late fees to any customer affected by COVID-19 and will extend the disconnect suspension to Sept. 28 when standard business operations resume.

As it always does, the company’s customer service team stands ready to work individually with customers who need help. Customers are encouraged to reach out for support online at AlabamaPower.com or call 1-800-245-2244.

Alabama Power will provide additional relief to customers adversely affected by COVID-19, with the typical customer set to receive a $25 credit on October bills due to lower fuel expenses. Credits will depend on energy use and could vary.

Alabama Power also offers several programs designed to help low-income, elderly or disabled customers with energy bills:

  • Project SHARE: A program in partnership with the Salvation Army, Project SHARE helps pay energy bills of low-income Alabamians who are age 60 or older and/or disabled. Customers who want to request energy assistance can apply at their local Salvation Army office or by calling 205-328-2420. Alabama Power customers who want to help others can donate by checking the Project SHARE box on their Alabama Power bill.
  • The Alabama Business Charitable Trust Fund: The ABC Trust works with local community action agencies to help cover the cost of heating and cooling for low-income families and those struggling with temporary financial problems. Customers who are interested can contact the community action agency in their county. For more information, visit PowerofGood.com. Click the “What We Do” tab, “Community Support” and then “ABC Trust.”
  • Energy bill discounts: Discounts are available for customers receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid for Low Income Families (MLIF). The discount includes $14.50 toward the customer charge. Eligible customers can sign up at any Alabama Power business office or by phone at 1-800-245-2244.

Alabama Power is preparing in compliance with safety best practices to responsibly adjust operations at business offices and Appliance Centers as part of normal business to provide walk-in service options for customers. Customers should comply with signs in the offices to ensure Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines are followed to protect the safety and health of fellow customers and employees. Limited customer capacity at offices will also be implemented.

While walk-in operations will be available for service, customers are encouraged to use 24/7 payment kiosks, drop boxes and drive-thru options where available. Customers have one or more service options available at each office.

Customers who prefer to transact business with Alabama Power through the company’s digital options or by phone can visit AlabamaPower.com/MyPayment, use its automated system at 1-800-245-2244, or pay through Bill Matrix at 1-800-835-2702.

Another option is visiting one of many Authorized Payment Locations, including grocery stores, drug stores and banks, where bills can be paid with cash. Customers are encouraged to find the location most convenient to them at AlabamaPower.com/PayinPerson.

Learn More

SBA Alert: Beware of Email Phishing Scams

  • August 14th, 2020

The U.S. Small Business Administration is sending a cyber warning alert to loan applicants seeking federal aid in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Email phishing campaigns where malicious actors are impersonating the SBA and its Office of Disaster Assistance to collect personally identifiable information (PII) for fraudulent purposes have surfaced.

The SBA is particularly concerned about scam emails targeting applicants of the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program asking them to verify their accounts using a third-party online platform to collect personally identifiable information.

It should be noted that any email communication from the SBA will come from email accounts ending in sba.gov, and nothing more. Loan applicants are being advised to look out for email scams and phishing attacks using the SBA logo. These may be attempts to obtain PII, access personal banking accounts, or install ransomware or malware.

Applicants are also advised to help protect their identity and privacy by never providing their full name, date of birth, social security number, address, phone numbers, email addresses, case numbers, or any other PII in public-facing comments or responses to third-party emails.

The SBA will not use a third-party platform to:

  • Actively seek PII
  • Search a third-party platform for or by PII
  • “Follow” public users proactively without a waiver

Borrowers who are in the process of applying for an SBA loan and receive email correspondence asking for PII are cautioned to ensure that any application numbers referenced in the email are consistent with their actual application number. Loan applicants and borrowers are also advised not to click on any links or open any attachments, which are often used in phishing email scams.

Additionally, federal agencies that provide disaster recovery assistance will never ask for a fee or payment to apply for financial assistance, and government employees do not charge for any recovery assistance provided.

An SBA logo on a web page does not guarantee the information is either accurate or endorsed by the SBA. Loan applicants and borrowers should be vigilant in protecting their personal information and data assets. Visit https://www.sba.gov/COVIDfraudalert to learn more about scams and fraud schemes.

If you suspect an email is associated with a fraud scam targeting the SBA, report it to the Office of Inspector General’s Hotline at 800-767-0385 or online at https://www.sba.gov/COVIDfraudalert.

Loan applicants who have questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program may call the Disaster Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or send an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Read More