If you are a business owner, you may plan to apply for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program.
These programs recently received hundreds of billions of dollars in new funding.
But while you focus on getting a loan, scammers can focus on you: hoping to trick you into giving them sensitive business information like your bank account numbers, your employees’ social security numbers, and even your money.
Here are some dos and don’ts to help you protect yourself from scammers when applying for a small business loan.
Don’t pay in advance for information. All information from the SBA is free of charge at sba.gov/coronavirus.
Don’t pay upfront for a government loan. You don’t have to pay upfront to get an SBA loan.
Don’t give your information to someone who’ll call you out of the blue, email you, or text you. The SBA does not make unsolicited calls to get information about you or your business, or to ask you to apply for a loan. The SBA will not send you any emails or text messages asking for sensitive information. If you get an email or text like this, delete it. It is a scam.
Don’t apply for a loan without checking with the lender. Only lenders authorized by the SBA can provide PPP loans, and other loans may be available directly through the SBA. To find an SBA authorized lender near you, use this SBA tool.
Don’t click links or reply to emails or text messages from someone you don’t know. Clicking the links could download malware onto your computer or device, or become linked to a scammer or hacker.
Also, warn your employees about fake emails and fake calls. And if you or your employees discover fraud, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.
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