NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – The wait is over for Pat Golab, who has worked with us over the past year to clear her name from an SBA loan approved in her name.
The letter states that “after carefully reviewing your credit history and the information you provided, we have confirmed that you did not apply for this loan and did not receive any benefit from this fraudulent loan.”
Thieves used her identity to secure a $ 45,000 SBA disaster-related personal injury loan. Golab not only did not apply, but she also does not have her own business.
When we first met, we weren’t sure where this would lead us. Golab has never dealt with the SBA before, and to be honest, neither have I. We knew she was the victim of identity theft. The signs were obvious from the start.
It all started with a letter back in September 2020 when they notified Golab that her application was approved. She called the SBA several times, which later referred her to the inspector general’s office, where she could report identity theft.
“It was so time-consuming and stressful,” Golab said.
We called and left some messages. When we received an answer, we were advised to wait with the process. In the meantime, interest was charged on the loan, and soon the only correspondence that Golab had with the Treasury Department was the accounts that came in every month.
During one phone call with an SBA official, they told us that Golab should not pay as they are continuing their investigation. However, this did not mean that the bills would end or that the loan would disappear from her credit. Golab was still on the hook for money.
The situation for Golab reached a boiling point after she managed to get hold of the application that these thieves were using to obtain a loan.
“They didn’t even answer half of the questions and simple things like,“ Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, ”Golab said.
The thieves used her name, address, and social security number to apply for a $ 45,000 loan, but left virtually everything else blank.
Simple questions such as ethnicity, gender, and veteran status were ignored. Golab says it was supposed to be a red flag, but it only got worse.
“Things like“ how long have you been in business? “Nothing,” said Golab.
This is the same application that asks for an answer to every question, otherwise the application comes back. For unclear reasons, this application was approved anyway. We’ve since learned that the SBA has expedited some applications to help businesses pay businesses faster during the pandemic.
With few checks, it is claimed that up to $ 79 billion has been approved for fraudulent loans since March 2020.
“It could have happened to anyone, and I don’t know anything that I could do to better protect my information,” Golab said.
We contacted Congressman Jim Cooper’s office where they also called and sent emails to the SBA on behalf of Golab. Thanks to their help and Golab’s persistence, the wait is finally over.
Golab says she will be more vigilant about her credit report so she can spot red flags sooner. She also contacted the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), where they can place a free annual fraud notice in your account. You can visit identitytheft.gov to get a complete guide to the process as well as block a credit report and more.
To her credit, Golab kept all her letters and emails and prepared herself as best she could for the opportunity to present her case. She knows that there are many other people who themselves can become victims. She has this message for them.
“I think just stay persistent even when it seems like you’re not going anywhere. You cannot give up, said Golab.