Updated: May 19, 2020
BBB is warning small businesses to be on the lookout for loan scams spoofing the SBA.
According to sba.gov, help is available for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Small business owners in the U.S. are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan to help overcome temporary revenue losses, or a Paycheck Protection Program loan based on payroll costs. Information on SBA disaster assistance is available at https://www.sba.gov/coronavirus.
With these sorts of programs come a considerable opportunity for fraud.
Experts are concerned that scammers will capitalize on this offer by conducting phishing attacks utilizing the SBA logo and attempting to obtain personal information, banking access, or install malware on your computer.
BBB advises small business owners to be aware of the following:
SBA does not initiate contact in regards to disaster loans. If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA soliciting a loan application, immediately suspect fraud. Do not provide personal financial information, including social security numbers, credit card numbers, or banking information, as scammers can use this information to apply for loans in your name.
SBA disaster loans do not require payment upfront. Anyone requesting payment upfront to process the application, process it more quickly or award more money is acting fraudulently. Also, be wary of offers of quick advances related to disaster loans or any other stimulus package. The lender may offer accelerated repayment terms at high interest rates.
If you are in the process of applying for an SBA loan and receive email correspondence asking for personal information, cross-reference the application number provided with the actual application number.
Any email communication from SBA will come from accounts ending with sba.gov. Hover your cursor over any email addresses or URLs to ensure the source is valid. The presence of an SBA logo in an email does not guarantee legitimacy.
For a list of reputable lenders, visit www.bbb.org. For questions about obtaining a SBA disaster loan, call 800-659-2955 or send an email to email@example.com.