If you are like rest of us, you might feel like a wave of new information comes in daily and it’s often hard to keep up. As the COVID-19 response continues to develop, the DMSA team is working closely with local government and small business resource organizations to bring you updates and information that affect your business. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. The DMSA office and other businesses and support offices are just an email or call away and are ready to assist you.
As the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) rolls out, there will be those who take advantage of it and you might see some fraudulent emails, mail or get phone calls. The following tips came from an article shared from the Office of the Inspector General and we wanted to share the tips with you. Also included in this blog are links and schedules for free webinars, Zoom calls and Facebook Livestreams that have taken place or will take place in the coming week.
Be Careful and Watch for Fraud
The following are tips from the Office of Inspector General and alerts they shared with the public about potential fraud schemes related to economic stimulus programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration in response to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19):
Scam and Fraud Scheme Advisory List
1. SBA does not initiate contact on either 7a or Disaster loans. If you are proactively contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA, suspect fraud.
2. SBA does not provide grants to small businesses. SBA provides guarantees to lenders to encourage them to make loans to small businesses. If you are contacted via social media about a SBA grant program for small businesses, suspect fraud.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Any email communication from SBA will come from accounts ending with gov.
8. 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 sba.gov.
9. If you have a question about getting a SBA disaster loan, call 800-659-2955 or send an email to email@example.com.
10. If you have questions about other SBA lending products, call SBA’s Answer Desk at 800-827-5722 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.