The U.S. Small Business Administration is warning small businesses to be cautious of firms contacting them and offering to help apply for money available through SBA programs.
The SBA and its Office of the Inspector General have received several complaints from small businesses about abusive marketing practices, scams and exorbitant fees charged by firms offering to help them obtain a loan, grant or other funds from the agency.
Some complaints alleged that firms said they would issue a “forfeiture letter” that would make the small business ineligible for SBA funding for three years unless it used the firm’s services. The SBA recommends that small businesses never provide social security or credit card numbers and bank account information to anyone, especially via telephone.
Small businesses can report suspected fraud or abuse to the SBA by calling toll-free 800-767-0385 or online at www.sba.gov/ig/aboutus/overview/rsw.