The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) includes provisions to help small businesses and unfortunately, fraudsters have already begun targeting small business owners. If you are a small business owner and considering participation in Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), be on the lookout for these signs of grant fraud, loan fraud and “phishing”.
Grants: The Small Business Administration (SBA) does not and will not initiate contact regarding grants. If you are proactively contacted by someone claiming to be offering grants from the SBA, suspect fraud.
Loans: If you are proactively contacted regarding CARES Act loans by someone claiming to be from the SBA, suspect fraud. If you are contacted by someone promising to get approval of an SBA or Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), but requires any payment up front or offers a high interest bridge loan in the interim, suspect fraud. Legitimate SBA brokers are limited to charging a borrower up 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.
DON'T: Apply for a loan without verifying the lender. Only SBA authorized lenders can provide PPP or EIDL loans. Cape Cod 5 is an Approved SBA lender.
Phishing: Scammers are using “phishing” emails to get personal banking access or install ransomware/malware on your computer. If you are in the process of applying for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and receive email correspondence asking for personally identifiable information, keep an eye out for the following:
Ensure that the referenced application number is consistent with the application number you initially received.
Look out for phishing attacks/scams utilizing the Small Business Administration (SBA) logo. The presence of an SBA logo on a webpage does not guarantee the information is accurate or endorsed by SBA.
Any email communication from SBA will come from accounts ending with sba.gov. Anything coming from sba.com is not legitimate.
Please cross-reference any information you receive by going directly to www.sba.gov. The website sba.com is not affiliated with the SBA.
Warn Staff: Inform staff members who may be assisting in the collection and processing of the required PPP and EIDL documentation what to look for. Have staff be aware of the potential for bogus phone calls and spoofing emails.
Report any suspected fraud to the Office of Inspector General Hotline at 800-767-0385 or online at, https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/oversight-advocacy/office-inspector-general/office-inspector-general-hotline.