The application for disaster loans exposed the personal data of business owners

About 100 business owners saw personal information exposed when they used an insecure government online portal to apply for federal disaster loans, officials said on Friday.

The information, including names, addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, has been exposed to other users of the online application portal, according to the US Small Business Administration, which manages the Loans In Case program. disaster.

The agency has yet to provide geographic information for business owners who have had their personal information exposed. However, they are notified individually and are offered free credit monitoring for one year.

SBA turned off the portal’s online application feature on Wednesday. As of Friday, it was not clear how long the personal information was exposed.

Applicants are encouraged to download the PDF files of the application forms at and when done upload them to the SBA through the BOX widget on the website. Completed requests can also be emailed to catastropheloans @ sba, gov, faxed to 202-481-1505, or mailed to the US Small Business Administration Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Rd., Fort Worth, Texas, 76155.

“The personally identifiable information of approximately 100 economic disaster loan applicants has been potentially exposed to other applicants on the SBA loan application site,” agency spokeswoman Jennifer said on Friday. F. Kelly from Washington. “We immediately deactivated the impacted portion of the website.”

The agency said Thursday it had seen “a wave of applications from Long Island.”

Disaster loans can be up to $ 2 million per applicant and can be repaid over a period of up to 30 years. The interest rate is 3.75%.

To be eligible, a business must have 500 or fewer employees and be unable to secure other funding to continue operating.

More information is available by calling 800-659-2955. The deadline to apply is December 21st.

Needs of downtown businesses

Separately, a third of small businesses in local downtown areas will not reopen without a government loan or grant, according to a survey of 275 business owners conducted over the past two weeks by the LI Main Street Alliance, which represents city centers being revitalized.

In the survey of restaurants and stores in 40 local town centers, more than 50% said they were temporarily closed due to the government-ordered shutdown of non-essential businesses and 30% only offered food services. takeaway and delivery. Among active businesses, sales are down 80 to 90%.

“Small, independent downtown businesses are facing serious economic hardship,” said Eric Alexander, founder of the alliance. “How long this pain lasts will depend on the community’s support for these businesses, when loans and grants reach them, and how long the shutdown lasts.”

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