Beware of Lending Scams

March 31, 2020

NSBA is urging caution when moving forward with any SBA lending program. Unfortunately times of crisis spur unscrupulous and predatory practices, and COVID-19 is no different. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has provided updated guidance on how small businesses can protect themselves when it comes to lending.

NSBA has been hearing more and more stories from small businesses who are being targeted by scammers posing as lenders and even SBA intermediaries. Below is some general guidance from SBA on what to look out for.

Scams and Fraud Schemes

Grants

  • SBA does not initiate contact on either 7a or Disaster loans or grants.  If you are proactively contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA, suspect fraud.

Loans

  • If you are contacted by someone promising to get approval of an SBA loan, but requires any payment up front or offers a high interest bridge loan in the interim, suspect fraud.
  • SBA limits the fees a broker can charge a borrower 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.  Any attempt to charge more than these fees is inappropriate.
  • If you have a question about getting a SBA disaster loan, call 800-659-2955 or send an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
  • If you have questions about other SBA lending products, call SBA’s Answer Desk at 800-827-5722 or send an email to answerdesk@sba.gov.

Phishing

  • If you are in the process of applying for an SBA loan and receive email correspondence asking for 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 personally identifiable information (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 www.sba.gov.

If you have been targeted by someone claiming to represent SBA, please report any suspected fraud to the SBA’s Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) Hotline at 800-767-0385 or online here.

Stay tuned to NSBA’s resource page for ongoing updates.