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How to avoid scams while applying for small business loan

FTC: New funding for coronavirus SBA loans attracts scammers

File photo
File photo (WSLS)

If you’re a business owner, you may be planning to apply for a loan through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program.

These programs recently got hundreds of billions of dollars in new funding.

But, while you’re focused on getting a loan, scammers may be focused on you: hoping to trick you into giving them sensitive business information, like your bank account numbers, employees’ Social Security numbers, and even your money.

Here are some “dos” and “don’ts” to help you stay clear of scammers as you apply for a small business loan.

DO:

DON’T:

  • Don’t pay in advance for information. All the information from the SBA is free at sba.gov/coronavirus.
  • Don’t pay in advance for a government loan. You don’t have to pay up front to get an SBA loan.
  • Don’t give your information to someone who calls, emails, or texts you out of the blue. The SBA won’t call unsolicited to find out information about you or your business, or to ask you to apply for a loan. The SBA is not going to send you emails or text messages asking for sensitive information. If you get an email or text like this, delete it. It’s a scam.  
  • Don’t apply for a loan without verifying the lender. Only SBA-authorized lenders can provide PPP loans, and other loans may be available through SBA directly. To find an SBA-authorized lender in your area, use this SBA tool.
  • Don’t click on links or reply to emails or text messages from someone you don’t know. If you click on the links, you could download malware to your computer or device or be connected to a scammer or hacker.

Warn your staff, too, to be alert for spoofed emails and bogus calls. And, if you or your employees spot a scam, let the Federal Trade Commission know at ftc.gov/complaint.