Senator Collins Warns of Scams Targeting Small Businesses

Senator Collins co-authored the Paycheck Protection Program that is providing relief for small businesses and their employees.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins is warning small business owners to beware of scams that are targeting small businesses seeking to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  Senator Collins co-authored the PPP to provide forgivable loans to help small businesses and their employees that have been harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The Senate Aging Committee, which Senator Collins chairs, has received reports that scammers are promising guidance and advice on receiving a PPP loan in exchange for an upfront fee.  One Maine employer reported being scammed by a website promising to connect them with a financial professional.  The website took her money and provided no services.  Another small business owner from Maine reported receiving a call from a scammer who promised to get their name to the “top of the list” to receive a PPP loan.  Despite what these scammers may say, PPP loans are approved on a first-come, first-serve basis only.

 

previous fraud alert warned of scammers who are falsely telling small employers that they must pay a fee to apply for a PPP loan.  The truth is that there is no application fee to apply for these loans. 

 

“It is unconscionable that these criminals are seeking to take advantage of small business owners during an economic crisis,” said Senator Collins.  “Anyone who believes they have been targeted by this type of scheme should report it to my Committee’s Fraud Hotline at 1-855-303-9470.”

 

Tips to Help Avoid Small Business Loan Scams:

 

  • Be wary of calls or emails that pressure you to make a fast decision or discourage you from telling friends or family about a proposed offer.

 

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited calls or emails purporting to be from the Small Business Administration (SBA).  The SBA will never proactively contact you regarding a loan opportunity.

 

  • If someone contacts you promising to get approval of an SBA loan in exchange for an upfront fee or offering a high interest bridge loan in the interim, hang up and call the Aging Committee’s Fraud Hotline. 

 

To date, 16,699 small employers in Maine have been approved for $2.24 billion in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans.