The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has warned the public to be on the lookout for scams related to the stimulus programs offered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SBA has identified grant fraud, loan fraud and phishing schemes related to the stimulus program:
- SBA does not initiate contact on either 7a or Disaster loans or grants. If you are proactively contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA, suspect fraud.
- If you are contacted by someone promising to get approval of an SBA loan, but requires any payment up front or offers a high interest bridge loan in the interim, suspect fraud.
- SBA limits the fees a broker can charge a borrower to 3% for loans $50,000 or less and 2% for loans $50,000 to $1,000,000 with an additional ¼% on amounts over $1,000,000. Any attempt to charge more than these fees is inappropriate.
- If you have a question about getting a SBA disaster loan, call 800-659-2955 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you have questions about other SBA lending products, call SBA’s Answer Desk at 800-827-5722 or send an email to email@example.com.
- If you are in the process of applying for an SBA loan and receive email correspondence asking for personally identifiable information (PII), ensure that the referenced application number is consistent with the actual application number.
- Look out for phishing attacks/scams utilizing the SBA logo. These may be attempts to obtain your PII, to obtain personal banking access, or to install ransomware/malware on your computer.
- Any email communication from SBA will come from accounts ending with sba.gov.
- The presence of an SBA logo on a webpage does not guaranty the information is accurate or endorsed by SBA. Please cross-reference any information you receive with information available at www.sba.gov.
All questions related to your Paycheck Protection Program loan, should be directed to the bank processing your loan application.
Report any suspected fraud to OIG’s Hotline at 800-767-0385 or online at www.sba.gov/about-sba/oversight-advocacy/office-inspector-general/office-inspector-general-hotline.
Click here for tips from the Better Business Bureau on spotting small business loan scams.
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