Identity thieves attack the Palm City doctor twice

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PALM CITY, Fla. – A retired doctor who lives in Palm City was hit by an identity theft scam again to raise Small Business Association disaster relief loans. It is the second time in weeks that he has been the target of the scam.

He’s not alone as more and more stories are popping up across the country.

Contact 5 was first reported last month, Dr. Richard Loew and his wife, Donna, were the victims of a scam targeting SBA loans. Cybercriminals used Donna’s personal information to take out an SBA loan for Donna Farms, a fictional company the Loews claims they never owned.

Now Loew Contact 5 announces that another SBA loan has been taken out with your personal information, this time for “Richard Farms”.

“Apparently there are two farms somewhere in the middle of my house,” Loew said in an interview at his Palm City home.

He is not alone.

WPTV

“Apparently there are two farms in the middle of my home,” says Dr. Richard Loew.

Okeechobee-based Patty Sarkar was also a victim of the cyber program, which took out an SBA loan with her information for a company called Patty Farm, as reported by Contact 5 in August. Alan Mittermaier of Columbus, Ohio sent Contact 5 a letter from the SBA stating that they had taken out a $ 18,600 loan for Mittermaier Farm, a deal he had never heard of.

Now Contact has identified 5 more victims in Lexington, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee.

Cybersecurity expert Carrie Kerskie said the SBA’s list of eligible companies for disaster relief loans includes farms.

“So since they’re mentioned there, the bad guys may have used that because they thought it would be easier to just get the application approved,” Kerskie told Contact 5 in an interview.

Kerskie believes the federal government’s rush to get money into the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic has made programs an easy target for cyber criminals. She said this was another reason people should consider freezing their credit.

“A loan freeze prevents a new creditor from seeing your credit report,” Kerskie said. “If you don’t see a credit report, no financial decision can be made. Hence an account cannot be opened.”

Meanwhile, Löw is frustrated. He is still being reminded monthly by the SBA that he must start repaying the loans next summer.

“The government should protect me,” Loew told Contact 5.

Loew said he had worked for weeks to clear his name and said his creditworthiness had declined by more than a hundred points.

“You can’t get a loan on a car or a house,” Loew said of his credit rating decline, adding, “or you can’t get the interest rates you want.”

The Small Business Administration said it would like everyone affected by this scam to file a report with their agency. Click here to learn more.

For more information on how to freeze your balance, click the links below.
Experian: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
Equifax: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/
TransUnion: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze

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