The Scam alert continues, and this time the target is small business owners. The Small Business Association (SBA) is alerting you of potential schemes related to economic stimulus packages. SBA is warning you to be on the lookout for grant fraud, loan fraud, and phishing. An increase in fraudulent activity has been seen in recent months in conjunction with timing of the Covid-19 pandemic and current economic crisis. For a breakdown of specific scenarios to watch out for see below.
Scams and Fraud Schemes
- SBA only communicates from email addresses ending in @sba.gov. If you are proactively contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA, who is not using an official SBA email address, 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 [email protected].
- If you have questions about other SBA lending products, call SBA’s Answer Desk at 800-827-5722 or send an email to [email protected].
- If you are in the process of applying for an SBA loan and receive email correspondence asking for 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 personally identifiable information (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.
Report any suspected fraud to OIG’s Hotline at 800-767-0385 or online at, https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/oversight-advocacy/office-inspector-general/office-inspector-general-hotline.