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Today, I want to tell you guys about a scammer I came across in my very own comment section. I’ve since deleted the comments to keep everyone safe.
There is someone on Instagram who’s posing as an SBA loan officer with the handle @officergoldberg on Instagram.
Someone spammed my comment section with a bunch of comments about how this person could help you get your EIDL loan forgiven.
Anyone who has followed my blog or this YouTube channel knows that the SBA is not currently approving any amount of loan forgiveness, much less complete loan forgiveness, which is what this person promised.
I reached out to them and told them I was interested, and they said the fee would be $1,000 payable after the SBA approved my forgiveness.
At first, I gave them a fake loan number (see above) to see how much vetting they did, and they said that loan number didn’t exist. Since the EIDL loan data is actually public, I went and pulled a real loan number and sent it to them.
Within 10 minutes, I got an email from a spoofed email address made to look like the SBA. At the bottom of the letter, they had the actual SBA email address for COVID EIDL loan servicing. But if you look closely at the email address it came from, it’s a fake address meant to look like it’s from the SBA.
I was interested to see how far I could take the scam, so I engaged with them.
I was expecting them to email me a fake letter and then ask me for payment, but it didn’t even get that far.
Then I got the letter from the SBA stating that I had to fill out a form and my EIDL loan would me magically forgiven.
All of a sudden “loan officer Beth Goldberg” changed it up on me and said that due to clients not paying, she was going to require that I pay $500 upfront, and the balance of $500 would be due only once I got the proper documentation for my forgiven EIDL.
Not surprisingly, the scammer gave me a bunch of payment methods that would be difficult to recover once the funds went out. They asked for payment via Zelle, Venmo, or Bitcoin… because yeah, that’s how you pay the SBA normally (Kidding!)
Just to see how long I could string them along, I told them that I was confused because I thought they worked for the SBA. The scammer said they did work for the SBA.
I want to keep the scammer on the hook a little longer, so I didn’t push the matter further. Needless to say, folks, any payments you make to the SBA would be directly to the SBA, not to the individual who’s representing the SBA.
To make it even more ridiculous, the scammer was giving me payment addresses for people that didn’t even have the same name. The scammer claimed it was her assistant. I won’t post those just in case those are real, unsuspecting people who didn’t realize they were part of the scam.
My best guess is that these are unsuspecting people who they lured in under the guise of making easy money.
I guess they would promise the people that if they took the $500 that was sent to them and forwarded half of that, they could keep the other $250.
Inevitably, once the scam was revealed, the person who received the money would be the one being banned or blocked, and not the actual scammer… I could be wrong about that arrangement, but just a guess.
Finally, I started saying ridiculous things to the scammer to see how long I can keep them on the hook. I asked Officer Beth on a date, and she politely declined.
Then I found a fake screenshot of a PayPal payment and sent it to them, and they replied it was the wrong address. After that, they stopped responding.
While I enjoyed messing with the scammer, I do want to get the word out there that there are scummy people like this who are trying to take advantage of desperate EIDL loan borrowers who are seeking loan forgiveness even though it doesn’t actually exist at this point.
Just to summarize, here are all the red flags that you would want to look for in a situation like this:
- If you’re going to send money to the SBA, you would be able to pay it directly to the SBA. They’re not going to ask you to Venmo or pay with Bitcoin.
- Nothing typically happens at the SBA from start to finish within 2 to 4 hours. When clients attempt to settle, I tell them the process will take somewhere between 6 and 8 months for normal SBA loan settlements.
- The SBA would never flat out forgive a loan without asking for a bunch of information first. If it were as easy as giving them your loan number, they would just go ahead and forgive them all. There would be no need to apply.
- An SBA employee would not communicate with you through social media channels to solicit payment.