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OIG Article

Fraudulent Phishing Scam Regarding the Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Summary of Action

Subject: Fraudulent Phishing Scam Regarding the Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Summary: On February 18, 2009, the SBA OIG learned that small businesses across the country were receiving faxed letters on SBA letterhead offering assistance to obtain tax rebates under the recent economic stimulus legislation. The letters asked the businesses to fax in a response with the name of their bank and bank account number so SBA could determine whether they were eligible for a rebate. These letters were not authorized by the SBA, and were fraudulent attempts to obtain financial information from the small businesses.

Actions Taken:

  1. The SBA OIG worked with the SBA Office of Public Communications on the issuance of a press release which was distributed throughout the country on February 18th.

  2. The SBA OIG prepared the information notice below and obtained the Administrator’s signature in the evening of February 18th. The notice was issued the next day.

  3. The SBA OIG located the telecommunications company that was providing the fax number referenced in the letter, and wrote a letter on February 19th requesting that the number be terminated. We received notice that the company had terminated the number on February 19th.

  4. Additional review is ongoing.


TO: All Employees

CONTROL NO.: 0000-2077

SUBJECT: Fraudulent Attempts to Obtain Small Business Bank Account Information

EFFECTIVE: 2-19-2009

This notice is to advise all SBA employees about fraudulent attempts to obtain small business bank account information using SBA letterhead. Reports have been made by various district offices that small businesses across the country are receiving letters on SBA letterhead offering assistance to obtain tax rebates under the recent economic stimulus legislation. The letter also asks the small businesses to fax in a response with the name of their bank and bank account number. These letters have not been sent by or authorized by SBA, and appear to be a fraudulent attempt to obtain financial information from the small businesses. All SBA district offices are asked to reach out to lenders, small businesses and others in their area, including media representatives, to let them know that businesses should not respond to these letters. The Inspector General’s Office is investigating this matter and pursuing appropriate action.

___________________
Darryl K. Hairston
Acting Administrator