- Stay away from services you have to pay to “help you” fill out your loan applications. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has deliberately simplified applications for financial relief under the CARES Act. If you need assistance, there are plenty of free resources available.
- Be wary of any emails, texts or phone calls requiring you to share your bank account, social security number or other personal information to speed up your loan or grant.
- If someone contacts you to discuss either 7a or disaster loans or grants, suspect fraud – the SBA does NOT initiate contact for these types of financial aid programs.
- If someone reaches out to you promising to get approval of an SBA loan, but requires a payment up front or offers a high interest bridge loan in the interim, suspect fraud.
- For Paycheck Protection Plan loans, make sure to work with a trusted lender.
- The SBA limits the fees a broker can charge a borrower to three percent for loans $50,000 or less and two percent for loans $50,000 to $1,000,000, with an additional .25 percent on amounts over $1,000,000. Make sure your lender isn’t asking for higher fees.
- If you are in the process of applying for an SBA loan and receive email correspondence asking for personal information, make sure the referenced application number is consistent with the actual application number.
- Just because an email uses the SBA logo or an email address that appears to come from the SBA doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. Hover over the email address to make sure it’s from an account ending in sba.gov.
Whom to contact to report suspected fraud:
Report any suspected fraud to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline at 800-767-0385 or online at https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/oversight-advocacy/office-inspector-general/office-inspector-general-hotline.