Payment Protection Program Scams

PPP Scams

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been one of the most important pieces of legislation signed into effect since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The unsecured loans through the Small Business Association (SBA) have enabled our favorite retail shops, restaurants and small businesses to stay afloat, even as the coronavirus devastates sectors of the economy.

Not surprisingly, scammers have been using the PPP for their own purposes, mainly to con struggling business owners out of money. In these scams, they’ll pose as SBA representatives or legitimate lenders to ask for personal information from the borrower. They may also send bogus emails appearing to be from the SBA to lead the victim into downloading malware.

Scammers are getting smarter all the time, but so are we! Here’s how to avoid PPP scams:

Know how PPP loans are processed

Ready to apply for a PPP loan?  Fill it out the SBA PPP loan application, and submit it to an SBA-approved lender. You’ll also need to provide some documents, such as tax returns for 2019, verifiable payroll expense documents, your most recent mortgage or rent statement, etc.

If you’re applying for a Second Draw PPP Loan, you will also need documentation that shows how you have used, or plan to use, your original PPP funds.

After you’ve submitted your application, just sit back and wait for approval.

How can I protect my business from PPP fraud?

Do:

  • Be wary of any individuals demanding immediate payment or asking that you make immediate contact to be eligible for a PPP loan. These are likely scammers.
  • Only use a lender that is accredited by the SBA. You can find all SBA-approved lenders here.
  • Look for the .gov at the end of each email or website allegedly from the SBA or another government entity.
  • Report any suspected scams to the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Don’t let those crooks walk free!

 Don’t:

  • Pay for a program that promises to process or expedite a PPP loan request if the organization behind the program is not accredited by the SBA.
  • Share any personal information with an unverified caller or email contact. If it’s personal info, make sure to keep it that way!
  • Click on links or download files from an unfamiliar email address.

Stay safe!

Freedom has made the Paycheck Protection Program available to its current members.  Applicants must have established a business or personal membership with Freedom on or before December 27, 2020.  Visit freedomfcu.org/business/ppp/ for more details. 

Your Turn: Are you a small business owner who has applied for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program? Tell us about it on Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter, or Instagram @FreedomFedCU.

 

Breathe 379 Wins Freedom Federal Credit Union’s #FreedomToHelpChallenge

Credit Union Awards $1,000 to Small Local Non-Profit to Support their Hope Center

Breathe 379 awarded $1000

Bel Air, MD – Freedom Federal Credit Union is pleased to congratulate Mike Nolan, Founder, Executive Director, and volunteer for Breathe 379, for winning the 3rd annual #FreedomToHelpChallenge.   The six-week social media contest called for entrants to post pictures celebrating Harford or Baltimore County volunteerism for a chance to win $1,000 and other weekly prizes for their local charity of choice.  Each week individual volunteers and non-profit organizations posted pictures showcasing local volunteerism in an effort that reached all corners of the two counties.  Weekly winners and the Grand Award winner were chosen during public voting periods on Freedom’s Facebook page.

“I have to be honest, I’m completely blown away by it.  I wasn’t even going to enter thinking we didn’t have a chance to win, but on a whim, I posted a submission of our amazing volunteers, and our supporters took it from there.  We are so grateful for the Freedom To Help Challenge, for giving us the opportunity to showcase and thank our volunteers, and for everything Freedom has done for us in the wake of winning, not just in donations, but with publicity for our cause,” stated Mike Nolan.  “This award will now allow even more members of our community and beyond to be served by Breathe’s Hope Center! Thank you, Freedom Federal Credit Union, for helping us help others!”

Officially founded in 2016, Breathe 379 is based in the simple notion of helping others, whatever the need.  Breathe’s Hope Center, based in Edgewood, Maryland, looks quite different from most food and clothing pantries, providing a relaxing environment and complimentary coffee bar to help ease stress and offer the hope that is very much needed in everyone’s life from time to time.  The organization is probably best known for their B379 Toy Drive, which distributes thousands of toys to local Harford County children in need during the holidays.

Mike Nolan and volunteers Nick Nizer, Vice President and Manager of the Well at Breathe, Bailey Alampi, Manager of Bailey Sue’s Country Market at Breathe, and Cheryl Andrews, Manager of The Cabin at Breathe, were all recently honored in a check presentation held at Breathe’s Hope Center with the $1,000 grand award.  The Hope Center is located at 2124 Nuttal Ave. in Edgewood, Maryland and is open each Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and the second Saturday of every month from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. Learn more at breathe379.com.

 

About Freedom Federal Credit Union

Freedom Federal Credit Union is a community-chartered federal credit union offering consumer financial services to those who live, work, volunteer, worship, attend school, or have family in Harford or Baltimore County.  Additionally, Freedom offers a full-line of banking services for all businesses, associations, and other organizations that are based in Harford or Baltimore County.  Freedom has been in business since 1953 and has five locations throughout Harford County. To learn more, visit www.freedomfcu.org

SVP of Business Banking Named to Department of Social Services Advisory Board

Bob Wehland
Bob Wehland
SVP of Business Banking
Appointed to Department of Social Services Advisory Board

Bel Air, MD –Freedom Federal Credit Union is pleased to recognize Bob Wehland, Senior Vice President of Business Banking, on his recent executive appointment to the Department of Social Services (DSS) Advisory Board in Harford County.   Wehland received commendations on his appointment by County Executive Barry Glassman and County Council President Patrick Vincenti.

The Department of Social Services Advisory Board is involved in every phase of DSS planning, operations, and funding.  The agency itself works under the mission to aggressively pursue opportunities to assist people in economic need, provide prevention services, and protect vulnerable children and adults.

Wehland comes to the board with over twenty years of banking management experience, and a long history of community involvement.  Wehland is currently the Vice President for the Mason-Dixon Business Association, for which he has also served as both President and Treasurer since his initial involvement in 1999. Around the same time, Wehland also joined the board of Mason-Dixon Community Services, for which he has been the Treasurer for the last eight years.

Wehland is also the current chair of the Veterans Committee for Abingdon Elks Lodge # 2354, where he recently coordinated and assisted in delivering 115 boxed lunches and 105 hot dinners to Veterans at Perry Point.

In addition to his role at Freedom Federal Credit Union, Wehland has coordinated employee volunteers to participate in over twenty different non-profit causes and over 1,500 hours of volunteer time as Chairperson of Freedom’s Community Outreach Committee, a role he has held since 2015.

When asked to join the DSS Advisory Board, Wehland expressed that he was both “humbled and honored to be considered for such an opportunity”.  “I have always believed it is important to give back to the community,” Wehland stated.   “Fortunately, Freedom Federal Credit Union shares this philosophy of giving back and people helping people.”

“Offering a hand up, especially in a time of crisis, makes our world and our community a better place,” Wehland continued.  “I hope to bring my knowledge, experience, and wisdom, along with my compassion and commitment to the DSS Advisory Board. I am very grateful for this opportunity and look forward to serving the citizens of Harford County in this new role.”

“Bob Wehland is as dedicated to his community as he is to the Freedom Federal Credit Union Team, and we could not be prouder” stated Mike MacPherson, Freedom’s President and CEO.  “Over the years, it has been incredible to see our community being served in meaningful ways by our Freedom employees, board directors, committee volunteers, and members.”

The Credit Union encourages employees to volunteer their time and skills to better serve the Harford and Baltimore County communities, including serving on local non-profit boards and county government boards and commissions.