HOUSTON - Paycheck Protection Program loans are saving businesses and jobs. But they're also being misused to rip people off and leave them deep in debt.
Many people are discovering scammers have taken out PPP loans using their stolen names, social security numbers, and financial information, and left them with tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
"Someone took out a PPP loan in my name, because I am prosecuting to the fullest. I found out they took a second draw, so they have gotten $40,000," said Sharae Young in a Facebook video.
When Young applied for a PPP loan for her own businesses, she tells us she couldn't get one because someone else had already taken out two $20,000 loans, using her good name.
"I said, What? What amount? She said another $20,833," said Young of her call with the Small Business Administration. "At this point, I just grabbed my heart. My heart started beating fast, because not only am I afraid someone has my information, you don't know what else they have."
The Department of Justice has been cracking down on people either lying about their business to get PPP loans, or using someone else's stolen identity to apply.
A California man is charged with using someone else's name, social security number, and signature to get $5 million in PPP loans and then buying three sports cars and vacations with the money.
An investigation by the news organization, ProPublica, revealed hundreds of PPP loans went to fake farms.
The Identity Theft Resource Center's Eva Velasquez says the scam is catching victims by surprise.
"You don't have to necessarily be a business owner. You don't have to have an EIN associated with your name in order for the thieves to use your credentials to apply for these fraudulent PPP loans," said Velasquez.
"If you report the fraud, and please do that right away, you will not be held liable," said Velasquez.
And freeze your credit to prevent further damage to your credit.
"If the thieves are actively using those credentials to apply for a PPP loan, it means they can apply for loans and lines of credit in other areas," Velasquez explains.
Young says she wants her story to warn others.
"If it happened to me, it could happen to you," said Young.
ProPublica has a page that lets you check if a PPP loan has been issued in your name.