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Protect Yourself from SBA Loan Scams

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The authorization of COVID-19 relief funds by the federal government under the CARES Act has seen a rise in scammers trying to divert those funds into their pockets. Here are some tips to stay safe online and avoid any interruption in receiving relief funds you may be entitled to:

  • Make sure you are visiting the correct websites. SBA loans, with the exception of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, are handled directly by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Make sure when you visit the SBA online, the website URL ends with “.gov”. Similarly, California government website URLs end with “.ca.gov.”
  • Do not pay a processing fee for your application. The federal government reimburses PPP lenders for their processing fees, and the Department of Treasury has forbidden agents to collect fees from PPP loan applicants. Similarly, for other government loan programs (and for unemployment benefits under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance), the government agencies will not require any upfront payment: for fees, prepayments or anything else.
  • Do not give sensitive personal information to anyone contacting you unsolicited, whether by phone, mail or email. If you think the contact may be legitimate, you can get in touch with the lender or government agency using the contact information listed on the website to confirm if the request is legitimate. NEVER USE THE INFORMATION LISTED IN THE UNSOLICITED MESSAGE.
  • Do not fall for promises to “fast-track” your application. CARES Act relief programs have been live for a matter of days, and many applicants have filed for relief funds. It’s unlikely that any offer to fast-track an application is legitimate. Some relief programs, such as bridge loans, may be able to provide urgent funds quicker than others. More information about all the CARES Act relief programs available to REALTORS® can be found in our FAQs here.
  • Report suspected scams. If you receive a solicitation you think is a scam, there are various ways you can report it to:

 


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