PHOENIX (3 On Your Side) -- Michael Hough was scrolling through Arizona's Family's website, and one report caught his eye.
"Your article spoke to me," he said. "This is happening to me also."
Last week, 3 On Your Side reported on a Scottsdale man who found out he is on the hook for a $26,200 COVID-19 disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The loan is in his name and his home address, but he never applied for it and never saw a penny of the money.
According to SBA data, 62,005 COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans worth $3.3 billion have been granted in Arizona.
"This loan is not mine and I am not going to pay it," Scott Monroe said.
Hough says, like Monroe, he was also targeted by a criminal who took out a fraudulent business loan in his name.
"I've never owned a business. Never. I’ve never applied for any kind of financing for a business. This was random. Out of the blue, I get an invoice in the mail that I have this $141,000 loan," Hough said. "I thought it was a joke at first."
Across the country, nearly $200 million worth of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) have been approved. A scathing federal report reveals many of them are likely fraudulent.
According to the October report by the SBA Office of Inspector General, unprecedented demand and unprecedented challenges "resulted in billions of dollars being distributed to potentially ineligible entities or fraudsters because of errors, weaknesses in controls, and fraud.”
For Hough, the fraudulent loan is costing him money every single month.
"I'm trying to refinance my home and it’s holding me up because I find out that they have placed a lien against the title to the home," he said.
Last week, Hough received a call from the SBA, promising to fast track the issue so he can refinance his mortgage, but he says he still doesn’t know how to get rid of this fraudulent loan once and for all.
"It's almost like they treat you like the criminal," he said. "I’m trying to clear this off my name and it’s been very difficult."
If you discover you're a victim of EIDL fraud, you should report it to the SBA's Office of Inspector General. According to the SBA, these are the documents needed for the SBA to begin a review to release the loan debt:
- A copy of an Identity Theft Report filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at IdentityTheft.gov, or filed with another federal law enforcement agency or your local police department
- A copy of your photo identification issued by a Federal or state agency. Examples are a Driver’s License, state ID card, U.S. Passport, or military ID.
- A completed and signed Declaration of Identity Theft
Send all three above documents by email to IDTheftRecords@sba.gov, or you can fax your documents to (202) 481-5200. Documents can also be mailed to:
U.S. Small Business Administration
Processing and Disbursement Center
Attn: ID Theft Records
14925 Kingsport Road
Fort Worth, TX 76155
According to the SBA, fraud victims may continue to receive monthly statements while the case is being reviewed.
"We suggest that you retain these statements until SBA has concluded the review. SBA will notify you in writing when we complete our review and will provide a final determination letter that outlines our findings," the agency said.
According to the SBA, the agency will not provide victims with information about any possible criminal investigations.