WASHINGTON — The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued a scam alert warning small businesses not to respond to letters that falsely claim to have been sent by the SBA and ask for bank-account information in order to qualify them for federal tax rebates.
The fraudulent letters are being sent to small businesses across the country on what looks like SBA letterhead, advising recipients that they may be eligible for a tax rebate under the Economic Stimulus Act. The letters ask small businesses to provide the name of their bank and their account number.
These letters haven’t been sent or authorized by SBA, and all small businesses are advised not to respond to them, SBA says.
The scheme is similar to “phishing” e-mail scams that seek personal data and financial account information that enable another party to access an individual’s bank accounts or engage in identity theft.
The SBA is working with the SBA Office of Inspector General (OIG) to investigate the matter. Anyone who receives one of the fraudulent letters can report it to the OIG Fraud Line by calling 800-767-0385 or e-mailing OIGHotline@sba.gov.