WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansans are not only experiencing issues with fraudulent unemployment benefit claims but also fake claims for disaster relief loans.
Millions of dollars in aid meant to help local businesses have now gone to scammers or ineligible businesses because of fraudulent disaster loan applications according to the Small Business Administration (SBA).
“They said this loan was taken out December first of 2020,” said Marita Schieck, a victim of a fraudulent claim. “It scared me to death because I don’t want to have to repay a $9,900 loan that I didn’t even take out.”
Schieck said the letter she received was sent to a home she lived at 43 years ago.
The letter claims she needs to make a payment on her disaster loan for her cleaning company, a business that doesn’t exist.
“It’s very scary because they might have my Social Security Number,” said Schieck.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is urging people to report these fraudulent claims and said it’s just one of many scams happening in Kansas.
“These consumers and businesses that have reached out to us have told us either, I one don’t own a business or two, I own a business however I did not apply for any financial assistance,” said Denise Groene with the BBB.
The SBA has issued warnings about the rampant fraud in the Federal Disaster Loan Program, providing COVID-19 relief.
That relief is aid designed to help, not hurt people.
“The businesses that truly need this assistance aren’t getting help,” said Groene. “Any sort of loan could be the difference between them being able to keep their doors open or having to shut down, so it’s important that we get the money to the businesses that need it.”
Kansans like Schieck said they are hoping their credit isn’t ruined forever. Schieck said she spent countless hours calling credit bureaus, banks, and other financial institutions hoping to protect her accounts.
“It took me a day and a half to get all this stuff reported and you’re just hoping that they received it,” said Schieck.
The SBA and BBB urge you to report fraudulent claims that you know you did not file for.
To file a report about a fraud claim with the SBA, click here.
You can also report your claim to the BBB. Click here to do that.
To file a report for identity theft, click here. Be sure to check your credit report, bank statements, and other accounts for suspicious activity. Contact your local police department and/or FBI.