Hannibal “Mike” Ware currently serves as the Acting Inspector General for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In this role, he is responsible for independent oversight of SBA’s programs...
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Welcome to the SBA OIG Hotline
The SBA OIG’s mission is to provide independent, objective oversight to improve the integrity, accountability, and performance of the SBA and its programs for the benefit of the American people. The Hotline is a crucial tool in this endeavor. Information collected through this resource helps keep the SBA OIG aware of risks and trends that affect the SBA’s programs.
Our goal is to make it easy for you to submit information to the SBA OIG Hotline in variety of ways so that at least one may be accessible to you. You may report fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, or misconduct involving SBA programs or employees by submitting your complaint using our Online Complaint Submission System or by contacting our office directly. If you have a question regarding an SBA loan or any SBA program, please contact your local SBA District Office or the SBA Answer Desk by telephone, 1-800-U-ASK-SBA (1-800-827-5722) or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note you are not required to disclose personally identifying information when submitting your complaint to the OIG, and the OIG does not automatically capture such information in its intake processes. Anonymous reports are, however, more difficult for us to process as we are not able to clarify initial reports or obtain follow-up information.
To submit an allegation of wrongdoing involving SBA programs, operations, or personnel, the methods below are available to you:
By Using Our Online Complaint Submission System
- CLICK HERE to Access the Online Complaint Submission System
- CLICK HERE to Access the Online Complaint Submission System Using a Mobile Device
By Mail or Courier*
Office of Inspector General
409 3rd Street, SW, Suite 7150
Washington, DC 20416
*Note: By U.S. mail, specified courier, or in person are the only authorized means for a person to file a complaint to the SBA OIG involving national security or "classified" information. Please ensure you follow all restrictions applicable to the classification level of material within your complaint when submitting a report to the SBA OIG Hotline. 32 C.F.R. Part 2001. Top Secret materials, for example, may not be sent via U.S. mail. 32 C.F.R. § 2001.46(c)(1).
By Toll-free Telephone
Regardless of the method by which you submit your complaint, the OIG will treat your identity confidentially as a default; however, you may elect to waive confidentiality, which may facilitate our ability to conduct a timely and thorough review of your complaint. The OIG will not release your name outside of the OIG without your prior consent unless you waive confidentiality or we determine that such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation.
What types of wrongdoing should I report to the SBA OIG Hotline?
My concern might not involve fraud, waste or abuse involving SBA's programs or operations. Who should I contact?
Am I a Whistleblower?
Should I fear retaliation for making a complaint with the OIG?
Will I be contacted by the OIG after submitting a complaint?
What is the Complaint Submission Number I received when submitting my complaint, and is it important?
What happens after I submit a complaint to the OIG?
How can I obtain the status of my complaint?
Will I be informed when my complaint is closed?
The SBA OIG provides independent, objective oversight to improve the integrity, accountability, and performance of the SBA and its programs for the benefit of the American people. We seek to improve SBA programs by identifying key issues facing the Agency, recommending corrective actions, and promoting a high level of integrity. We, therefore, encourage you to submit your complaint to our office even if you are unsure. The simple answer is if you suspect fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement of federal funds involving SBA programs, operations, or personnel, please submit your complaint to the SBA OIG by using our Online Complaint Submission System, by telephone (800) 767-0385, or by mail: Office of Inspector General; 409 3rd Street, SW, Suite 7150; Washington, DC 20416.
A. If you have a question regarding an SBA loan or any SBA program, please contact your local SBA District Office or the SBA Answer Desk by telephone, 1-800-U-ASK-SBA (1-800-827-5722) or by email, email@example.com For information specific to disaster loans, you may contact the SBA Disaster Loan Customer Service Center by telephone at (800) 659-2955, or visit their website by CLICKING HERE.
B. If you are a small businesses facing unfair or excessive federal regulatory compliance or enforcement issues such as repetitive audits or investigations, excessive fines and retaliation, the SBA National Ombudsman may be able to assist you. You may file a complaint with the SBA National Ombudsman by following the procedures provided on their website. CLICK HERE to visit the SBA National Ombudsman's website.
C. If you suspect fraud, waste, or abuse involving personnel or programs of Federal agency other than the SBA, you may make a complaint directly to the OIG of this Federal agency or to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Links to Offices of Inspectors General can be found on the website of the Council of the Inspectors General for Integrity and Efficiency. CLICK HERE to locate the Inspector General of the federal agency involved in your complaint. Additionally, the GAO has established a website to receive complaints of fraud, waste or abuse involving Federal funds, which can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.
D. If you are having a problem with a product or service purchased from a business or merchant, you should contact your state or local government's consumer affairs department, state attorney general's office, or local Better Business Bureau.
You may also consider contacting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC is the nation’s consumer protection agency. To contact the FTC, you may find information on their website by CLICKING HERE, or by contacting them by telephone, (202) 326-2222.
E. For general federal government information, you may find information on the Internet at USA.gov, which can be accessed by CLICKING HERE. You may also reach them by phone at 1.844.USA.GOV1 (1-844-872-4681).
If you are a Federal employee, or employee of a contractor, subcontractor, or grantee submitting information to the SBA OIG regarding fraud waste or abuse in the SBA’s programs or operations, you are probably a whistleblower. Please be aware, however that specific criteria apply to whistleblower protections afforded by law. For example, disclosures by current and former federal employees, applicants for federal employment, and employees of a federal contractor, subcontractor, or grantee have special meaning and protections. Please visit the SBA OIG Whistleblower Ombudsman webpage by CLICKING HERE to learn more.
Federal law prohibits governmental personnel from retaliating against an employee who acts as a whistleblower by reporting suspected waste, fraud or abuse to the OIG. Under the Federal prohibited personnel practices, 5 U.S.C. §2302(b)(8), employees may not “take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, a personnel action with respect to any employee or applicant for employment” because the person has disclosed information to an OIG which he or she reasonably believes is evidence of (1) a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or (2) gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, so long as the disclosure is not specifically prohibited by law or Executive Order. Please visit the SBA OIG Whistleblower Ombudsman webpage by CLICKING HERE to learn more.
Not necessarily. If you provide contact information, OIG personnel may contact you to obtain additional information that may assist us in reviewing or investigating your complaint. If you did not initially waive confidentiality, OIG personnel may contact you to discuss your decision to submit a confidential complaint in order for us to better address the complaint or further a review or investigation.
The Complaint Submission Number is a unique number that identifies your complaint. If you need to submit new or additional information to the Hotline regarding your complaint, it is best to reference this number in your communication for reference purposes.
The Hotline conducts a preliminary review of the information as well as any evidence of wrongdoing you submitted to our office. The Hotline subsequently coordinates any necessary in depth review by officials responsible for conducting investigations, audits, inspections, evaluations, or other reviews. If you waive confidentiality, the opportunity for the OIG to seek action by SBA program officials or entities outside of the SBA to address the complaint may be possible in instances that the OIG makes a determination further internal review or action is not warranted or possible.
Due to confidentiality and privacy concerns for our complainants and other interested parties and due to concerns related to preserving the integrity of our reviews and investigations, the SBA OIG has adopted a policy of not providing status updates. Individuals desiring a status update may seek to obtain one by submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request asking for "...documents sufficient to determine the current status of complaint number...".
You have several ways to submit your FOIA request for records in the possession of the OIG:
- FOIAonline: https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/public/home
- Email: FOIA@sba.gov (link sends e-mail)
- Mail: Chief, Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Office
U.S. Small Business Administration
409 3rd St., SW 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20416
- Fax: (202)205-7059
Should you use FOIAonline, email, or fax, you do not need to mail us a follow-up letter. Please be advised that submitting a request outside of proper FOIA channels may result in delayed processing of your request.
When making a proper FOIA request, we ask that you provide:
- Your name
- Your complete mailing address
- Your personal email address
- Your telephone number
- A detailed description of the records you are seeking. If applicable, it is helpful if you provide the type of record, the time frame for search, the location or address of a business, associated loan numbers, and any other information pertinent to your request. Please note there is no obligation under the FOIA for federal agencies to create records or respond to questions.
- The format in which you wish to receive the responsive records (if desired).
- Your willingness to pay statutory fees for the processing of the requested information and your desired requester fee category (required by SBA regulations). More information regarding requester categories and fees may be found CLICKING HERE.
Please note that Privacy Act (PA) requests are not accepted via e-mail or the FOIAonline submission portal due to privacy/personally identifiable information (PII) concerns. For more information regarding PA requests, please see 13 C.F.R. § 102.24.
SBA regulations require, in the case of third party information requests, a written statement from the first party, verifying his or her identity, and certifying that individual's agreement that records concerning him or her—including proprietary business information—may be accessed, analyzed and released to a third party requester. If you wish to be treated as a first party requester with regard to the information you are seeking, at the time of submission, please provide this office with a signed release from the owner of the records you are seeking. The release should authorize the disclosure of personal information and proprietary business information. If we do not receive a first party privacy waiver, you will be treated as a third party requester.
Please note, Congress provided special protection in the FOIA for three narrow categories of law enforcement and national security records. The provisions protecting those records are known as “exclusions.” The first exclusion protects the existence of an ongoing criminal law enforcement investigation when the subject of the investigation is unaware that it is pending and disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings. The second exclusion is limited to criminal law enforcement agencies and protects the existence of informant records when the informant’s status has not been officially confirmed. The third exclusion is limited to the FBI and protects the existence of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence, or international terrorism records when the existence of such records is classified. Records falling within an exclusion are not subject to the requirements of the FOIA. So, when the OIG responds to your request, it will limit its response to those records that are subject to the FOIA. Finally, please note the IG Act prohibits Federal Inspectors General from disclosing the identity of individuals making reports, without the consent of that individual, unless the Inspector General determines such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of an investigation. 5 U.S.C. Appendix § 8M. Accordingly, if you submit a status request, the SBA OIG will redact information likely to identify a complainant under Exemption 3 of the FOIA, unless the complainant has consented to disclosure of his or her identity.
Additional information regarding the Freedom of Information Act is available on SBA's FOIA webpage, which can be accessed by CLICKING HERE. You also may call the FOIA/PA Office at (202) 401-8203 if you have any questions about FOIA at the SBA.
The Hotline is an information collecting tool. Through it, we gather information necessary to determine trends and risks facing the SBA programs and operations. We take our duty to protect the confidentiality of our complainants very seriously. In our experience, one of the best ways to ensure this confidentiality is to minimize the leakage of information out of the Hotline into an unprotected environment. Due to confidentiality and privacy concerns for our complainants and other interested parties, the Hotline has adopted a policy of not providing status updates or case closing notifications. In balancing the competing concerns involved with Hotline disclosure risks and benefits, the OIG has determined this bright line rule best complemented our mission and duties under the IG Act. Although you may not hear from us, every complaint is reviewed and processed. We understand that it is often a difficult decision to file a complaint with an OIG, and we honor your choice to do so by diligently reviewing and developing allegations received. Individuals seeking the status of a complaint may do so by submitting a FOIA request using the procedures discussed above. You may also see a current list of investigatory and audit results by CLICKING HERE.