OIG's Investigations Division, in conjunction with its investigative partners, has identified several organized fraud rings that use social media to recruit applicants who split advance money with ringleaders. Various romance scams and social media solicitations persuade people to provide personally identifiable information to "get free money." The information is then used to apply for SBA economic injury loans and portions of the proceeds go to the ringleader.
Another scheme has companies advertising their ability to secure SBA money for clients to start businesses, then using respondents&rsquo information to apply for SBA economic injury loans. Online videos on social media are readily available to instruct potential applicants how to answer certain questions to falsely obtain economic injury loan money.
During initial investigation into some of the theft complaints, OIG's criminal investigators have found that some IP addresses used to apply for SBA assistance using stolen identities were also used in applications for numerous other economic injury loans.