Beware of Scams Related to Economic Stimulus Programs
The U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA's) Office of Inspector General is warning small businesses about potential fraud schemes related to economic stimulus programs offered by the SBA in response to COVID-19. Fraudsters have already begun targeting small business owners according to the Inspector General.
NAHB also has learned that a member was a recent victim of SBA loan fraud. The member received a letter in the mail from the SBA about a loan for which he did not apply. Law enforcement was immediately notified, and the case is under investigation.
The Office of Inspector General released the following tips to be on the lookout for loan fraud and phishing:
- If you are contacted by someone promising to get approval of an SBA loan, but it requires any payment up front or offers a high interest bridge loan in the interim, suspect fraud.
- 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 sba.gov.