The PPP and fraud

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – President Joe Biden has announced changes to the Paycheck Protection Program.

Starting Wednesday, there will be a 14-day period for only businesses with less than 20 employees can apply for relief.

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Other changes announced include eliminating restrictions that prevent getting relief for small business owners with non-fraud felony convictions and owners delinquent on their federal student loans.

“We’re still digesting all that information trying to understand all the rules, but in theory, I think it’s a good idea,” First Horizon Chattanooga Market President Jay Dale said.

While the PPP may have been a lifeline for many small businesses it hasn’t been immune to criminals looking to take advantage of the program.

They do so by obtaining your information.

“The methods for fraud are kind of the same in that people are contacting customers with the same methods of email or text or phone call asking for private information,” Dale said.

In December, a judge ruled that the SBA publish information on who is getting the loans.

Dale said criminals are using that information too.

“Listed companies by name, the dollar amount of the SBA loan which now they have new ammunition in a way to attempt that fraud,” he said.

Dale said that the SBA and banks will never ask for personal information over the phone of through email.