Beware of Scams When Applying for SBA COVID-19 Stimulus Loans
Unfortunately, there are people out there seeking to take advantage of the current coronavirus crisis situation. Opportunists are targeting businesses that seek to apply for the COVID-19 disaster loans offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). There are two things to watch out for:
- Fraudulent organizations looking to steal your data.
- Third party companies that pose as the SBA but in actuality are an intermediary like a loan broker. They may not be stealing your data but hope to profit from the loan process by helping place your loan with a lender. In fact it is illegal for a provider to charge any fees to someone applying for one of the coronavirus stimulus loans.
How can you avoid scams?
- If possible, deal with your local bank directly – inquire if they are participating in this program and apply through them if possible.
- Check out the website URLs of any organization that reaches out to you directly through phone or email. If a site is a legitimate government site, it will have a .gov at the end. If the website address ends in .com or .org, there is a good chance it is not the authentic government site. Call the phone number to verify the organization.
- Be very careful with any electronic signature or Docusign form that is sent to you and confirm the source and purpose before you sign it.
Contact the U.S. Small Business Administration Site Directly
Here are more suggestions directly from the official government U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) site: https://www.sba.gov/content/beware-scams
- Legitimate government entities will have websites and emails that end with .gov such as http://www.sba.gov.
- Search “scam” or “scams” on http://www.sba.gov. You’ll find many of the scams that we already know exist.
- Report scams. Report to the BBB and to the Attorney General. If someone purports to be affiliated with the SBA, contact your SBA office.
Please Note: This document does not constitute legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal advice on what to do in a particular situation.