If you are like the rest of us, you might feel like a wave of new information comes in daily and it’s often hard to keep up. As the COVID-19 response continues to develop, the DMSA team is working closely with local government and small business resource organizations to bring you updates and information that affect your business. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. The DMSA office and other businesses and support offices are just an email or call away and are ready to assist you.
As the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) rolls out, there will be those who take advantage of it and you might see some fraudulent emails, mail or get phone calls. The following tips came from an article shared from the Office of the Inspector General and we wanted to share the tips with you. Also included in this blog are links and schedules for free webinars, Zoom calls and Facebook Livestreams that have taken place or will take place in the coming week.
Be Careful and Watch for Fraud
The following are tips from the Office of Inspector General and alerts they shared with the public about potential fraud schemes related to economic stimulus programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration in response to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19):
Scam and Fraud Scheme Advisory List
- SBA does not initiate contact on either 7a or Disaster loans. If you are proactively contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA, suspect fraud.
- SBA does not provide grants to small businesses. SBA provides guarantees to lenders to encourage them to make loans to small businesses. If you are contacted via social media about a SBA grant program for small businesses, suspect fraud.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Any email communication from SBA will come from accounts ending with 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 sba.gov.
- If you have a question about getting a SBA disaster loan, call 800-659-2955 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you have questions about other SBA lending products, call SBA’s Answer Desk at 800-827-5722 or send an email to email@example.com.
Report any suspected fraud to OIG’s Hotline at 800-767-0385 or online at, https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/oversight-advocacy/office-inspector-general/office-inspector-general-hotline.
Information and Resource Links to Webinars and Facebook Live Streams
Communities in Texas are coming together to share their information with one another, so you will find some webinars from other Chambers of Commerce, state and local entities being posted regularly in the Denton Main Street Members Facebook group page, City and Chamber pages, and more to help you navigate the waters of COVID-19 Disaster Relief and resources for small businesses. The information on this City of Denton Economic Development page gets updated regularly, so stay tuned to it and check back for any webinars or sessions that might directly help you with any issue or question.
This PDF is a list of other upcoming webinars and FB Live Streams that have taken place or will be taking place with organizations all over Texas and will have good information for small businesses. All are free.
Below are some live stream and Zoom video links that are from our local community resources that took place last week and some locally hosted webinars coming up THIS week:
April 2nd, 10 am - Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas Q&A with TWC Commissioner, Aaron Demerson:
“Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas always strives to provide you with valuable workforce insight as well as access to information and resources to help your business thrive. Now, more than ever, we’re determined to bring you opportunities that can help you navigate the COVID-19 environment.
We strongly encourage you to join us in this discussion to gain insight and voice your questions and concerns. Register for the conference call using the link below. Please submit your questions in advance as part of your RSVP.”
April 2nd, 1 pm - The Road to Cyber - 1st part of a 4 part Free Webinar Series:
Advanced Virtual Chief Information Security Officer for Remote Teams - Thursday, April 2nd (1:00PM - 1:40PM)
Top 10 Cyber Security Fundamentals for small to medium businesses - Thursday, April 9th (1:00PM - 1:40PM)
Increasing Your Network Security Posture - Thursday, April 16th (1:00PM - 1:40PM)
Red Teaming at 10,000 feet - Thursday, April 23rd (1:00PM - 1:40PM
More information and resources are gathered daily and posted by DMSA and other sources to help small businesses make decisions for moving forward. Denton has a community of local bankers who are a great resource, so reach out to your local banker for any guidance and advice. The DMSA Directory page has some local bank information HERE.
If you have more questions, please reach out to Denton Main Street Association main office number at 940-349-8529 or you can contact the City of Denton Economic Development office at 940-349-7776.
Stay Downtown Denton Strong!