The U.S. Small Business Administration is warning businesses or employers that would avail of their loans and other assistance to be aware of scammers that would take advantage of their current situation.
SBA public information officer Cynthia Cowell said they are encouraging businesses or employers to have their own accountants or staff to fill out the loan application forms either online or at their Business Recovery Center.
“You can have anyone complete your application for you, if you’re worried about putting it in for your own. But, if you pay someone, that’s where we can run into some trouble.”
She pointed out that scammers usually offer to file the loan application for you for a fee and then fail to turn in the application.
“We don’t want our applicants to pay someone, because there are scammers out there who will come in and say, ‘Yeah, I’ll put your application [for] $200; give it to me.’ You pay them $200 and find out they didn’t turn in the paperwork.”
“So, don’t pay someone. Have your accountant or someone from your office do the application whether online or at our [temporary] offices,” Cowell told Saipan Tribune.
Cowell said the SBA discourages applicants from paying someone else to file a loan application unless they trust the person. “[But] if you have a good friend who is good in financial matters and you want to pay them, for like $50, by all means, go ahead but there’s a form that he needs to sign.”
For business owners to ensure that the paperwork is filed correctly and properly, call SBA or go online to check the disaster recovery page at www.disasterloans.sba.gov/ela.
“There, you can find out the status of your application,” she said.
Applicants should also make sure if their application forms have been filled correctly and all required documents are complete. “Make sure you are not waiting for something or missing in documents. Because if we’re waiting for something from you, we can withdraw the application and give you six months longer to get everything together.”
“But you want your money as soon as possible. So, turn in everything. All the documents needed or visit the Business Recovery Center. It’s been pretty steady and we’re getting business applications. We’re evaluating the applications and some are being approved.”
As of Nov. 30, SBA had already received 174 business and economic injury disaster loans. Five have been approved for a total of $136,200. FEMA made 818 referrals to SBA.
There have been four approved business and EIDL loans out of 17 applications for Typhoon Mangkhut; FEMA made 72 referrals to SBA.
SBA’s disaster loan outreach center on Rota will be ending its services at 4:30pm tomorrow, Dec. 6, but Cowell said that those who would apply from Rota can come to Saipan and submit the forms and other required documents.