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Business Loan Scams – Borrowers Beware! Part 2 of 2

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By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

We hope that you have found the prior article on Business Loan Scams helpful.   It so important to be aware so you and your Small Veteran Owned Business do not fall prey to a scammer.  Remember that scammers often will contact you online or by phone.  Below we will provide you additional types of Business Loan Scams.

  • Ghost Investors: You can receive a call about a “potential investor” lined up to provide you huge amounts of funding immediately and asking for a transaction fee.   Keep in mind when anything sounds to good to be true, it usually is a scam.  Ghost investors are more of a con trying to go after those who might be in the market for business loans and/or funding.   The scammer will act as the “agent” for a large investor, foundation, angel investor or fund who wants to give you money and make an investment in your business.

They are not too interested in hearing your plan or ideas but want to collect your private financial information online such as your social security number or tax identification number for your business.   They will say they need this private information to conduct a background check.  They also will try to obtain an advance fee of some type from you.  They want to hook you and then do a double whammy of taking your personal information and obtaining your money in advance fees.   Legitimate investors take a considerable amount of time to investigate you and they do not ask for fees.

  • Loan Broker Swindlers: These scammers will promise to connect you with a reputable lender in the role of consultant of sorts.   They want your sensitive information and advance fees.

Yes, there are legitimate loan brokers out there, but the real ones will not ask you to pay upfront for their services.   Most ethical loan brokers work on a commission basis and are not paid their commission until the deal closes.  Please beware of any loan brokers who ask for their fees upfront.  If someone wants to buy your business or make a loan, there is a process and it should not cost you upfront.

  • After Financing Business Loan Scams: Stay alert because after you have your loan, there are scammers who will come out of the woodwork.  Below are some of the scams after you obtain your loan:
  1. Debt Relief Scam: It usually goes like this: “If you are struggling with loan payments, get out of debt with affordable monthly payments and we guarantee 48-hour approval”.   The target are people who have trouble keeping up with their loan payments.  The scammer often promises to significantly cut your loan payment or forgive all or part of it.  Once again, they will try to obtain your sensitive information and even your bank account info.   Anyone who promises you a “guaranteed approval” is usually not legitimate.  Again, they will try to obtain upfront fees.  If you are struggling with payments, talk with your existing lender and determine if you can revise the loan so the payments are more affordable.
  2. Debt Collection Schemes: This is when debt collectors harass you, make threats of arrest and try to use fear to obtain money from you.    Collectors are regulated by law.  At the end of the day, they want to work out a plan with you and are not allowed to make threats.  If you feel threatened, it probably is not a legitimate collector.

There are many ways that hard working small business owners can be tricked by scammers and con artists.  We urge you to be on the lookout for the following:

  • Unsolicited Contact
  • Non-Traditional Advertising
  • Upfront Money Requested
  • Lack of a Physical Address
  • Generic Email Address
  • Guaranteed Approval
  • High-Pressure Sales Tactics
  • Too Good to be True

If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a business loan scam, below are a list of things you can do:

  • Report to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
  • Call local police
  • Report identity theft
  • Contact local credit bureaus

We urge you to be on the alert to avoid business loan scams.  As we previously stated, knowledge is power.  Take your time and confirm that you are dealing with legitimate sources.

If you are interested, we invite you to join VAMBOA.   There are not any fees or dues charged to members.  We will also allow members to use the VAMBOA seal on their collateral and website.  If you want to join, below is a link to register:

https://vamboa.org/member-registration

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

VAMBOA and our team hopes that you have enjoyed Part 1 and Part 2 of this three-part series on Business Grants for Veterans and found it to be valuable.   Please let us know what you think because we value your input.  You can email us at info@vamboa.org.

 

Once you have your funding secured, either by grant or loan, you may still need some other business assistance. Below you can find some excellent resources for your Small Veteran Owned Business to utilize to start, learn, nurture, and grow your small business:

  • Boots to Business is a two-step program offered by the Small Business Administration (the SBA) offered on military installations around the world to introduce service members to entrepreneurship and the foundations needed to begin a business when they return home.
  • Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV)is a free program for post-9/11 vets and their spouses.
  • Patriot Boot Camp is a branch of the startup incubator: TechStars and is specifically for active duty military members and their spouses who want to gain entrepreneurial skills.
  • Service-Disabled Entrepreneurship Development Training Program offers between $50,000 and $150,000 as a grant to support organizations that deliver entrepreneurship training program(s) to service-disabled veteran entrepreneurs who want to become small business owners or who currently own a small business.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several veteran entrepreneurship training programs.
  • Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) is an SBA-funded program that offers online training, a conference and mentorship specifically to female veterans.
  • Veterans Business Services helps veterans acquire or start small business. Veteran Business Services offers assistance with franchising, marketing and with connecting you with financial services.
  • Veterans Business Resource Center offers business training for Veterans including help with understanding business plans, financials, marketing, sales, human resource management, and more. They also offer webinars and professional counseling.
  • Veterans Institute for Procurement (VIP)is an accelerator program with three specific offerings specifically designed for owners, principals, and C‐level executives of Veteran Owned Small Businesses and Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses SDVOSB).  Veterans Institute for Procurement (VIP) Grow helps companies develop overall strategies to operate and expand within the federal marketplace. VIP Start helps companies that want to get into the federal market and become procurement-ready. VIP International is for companies that want to enter or expand their federal and commercial contracting opportunities overseas.
  • VetsInTechis a private sector training program that offers tech related education opportunities, connections with tech jobs and workshops and bootcamps to help veteran startup founders boost and grow their businesses.

 

Business Grants for Veterans : Part 1 of 3

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Looking for a business grant? Are you a Veteran Owned Small Business? There are quite a few grants out there that are offered by a variety of institutions.   Grants are time sensitive and are open for a specific period and then they are no longer available.  It does not make sense to list grants in this article because by the time you read this article, they may no longer be available.  However, you certainly can find them!

 

This is a three part series on Business Grants for Veterans and Part 1 will detail a few good places to find grants and other financial assistance for your Veteran Owned Small Business. Please keep in mind that just because you don’t see a specific grant or site listed within this article, there are many other grants that you can locate by performing a comprehensive search with specific criteria that applies to you.  It may take some energy, research and time to locate the right grants and financing options but consider it a treasure hunt that will always be worth it to your Veteran Owned Business.

 

The best place to begin your search for grants is the Federal Government’s database for small business grants at.Grants.gov. You should check the site often as grant opportunities begin and end frequently. Once you have found a grant (or two) that will work for your needs, you need to determine your next steps.  Grants.gov provides a very clear and specific process for applying for grants.   Below are some specific areas that will assist you on their website:

  1. Learn about grants: Their learning page includes a brief instructional video to help guide you.
  2. Check eligibility: This page will help you determine whether or not your business is eligible to apply for a federal grant.
  3. Search grants: You can search for grants by keyword, opportunity number, as well as other criteria.
  4. Register: If you find a grant you would like to apply for you will need to register for an account.
  5. Apply for a grant: The apply page includes helpful videos on how to use the system to properly apply for your chosen grant.
  6. Track your application: This page gives you the ability to keep an eye on how your application is progressing.

 

If you are looking specifically for Research and Development (R&D) grants from the Federal Government, there are two other programs that you may wish to consider:

 

Even though Grants.gov is an outstanding resource to locate grants, the Federal Government is not the only place to look for grants for your Veteran Owned Small Business. Our next article in this series will cover specific state offered business grants that you should explore as well.   Stay tuned!

SBA San Diego District Office

The U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE are presenting this free workshop about Owning a Franchise and the Special Assistance Available for Veterans.

Topics:

  • How to Own a Franchise
  • Special Assistance for Veterans & Disabled Veterans Interested in Owning a Franchise
  • How to finance the purchase of a franchise or financial assistance for franchise owners.
  • Financing with Rollovers as Business Start-ups (ROBS) Plans
  • All about Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDD)
  • SBA Products and Services to help you start, manage and grow your business!

Presenter:

Frank Caperino is a volunteer counselor for SCORE and has extensive knowledge about owning and operating a franchise business. He has owned eight Cold Stone Creameries over a period of fifteen years and currently works as a consultant for FranChoice.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 | 9:00 am PST – 11:00 am PST
San Diego Public Library – Mary Hollis Clark Conference Center 
330 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA, 92101 (2 hours free parking in building)
Click Here to Register!
Contact: Rosa Rodarte, 619-727-4877, rosa.rodarte@sba.gov
Fee: This is a free event.

SBA’s participation in this activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any participants, person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.
Contact: Jill Andrews, SBA – 619-727-4885.

Vermont Loan clinic Jan 13

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SBA Vermont District Office

Learn how an SBA loan can benefit your business during a free loan clinic webinar from 9 to 10 a.m. EST Jan. 13. A second loan clinic is from noon to 1 p.m. EST Jan. 13.

To join the webinar, log onto http://www.connectmeeting.att.com and use the meeting number 8888449904 and the code 7013799. To access the conference call, dial toll free 1-888-844-9904, when prompted enter the access code of 7013799.

For more information, email vallerie.morse@sba.gov.

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