KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — When the pandemic first hit last year, millions of small businesses felt the immediate impact. So, the CARES Act was passed to provide economic relief. However, scammers were quick to take action, claiming money was available through the Small Business Administration in the form of economic injury disaster loans.

A Knoxville woman nearly fell for this small business grant scam. Going so far as to provide personal information to the would-be scammer. At first, she said, it sounded legitimate, before realizing the supposed loan she was eligible for was a hoax.

On her days off, Patti Vergerio keeps her 7-year-old grandson Alex busy with reading books and playing games. While she enjoys the time with him, there are nagging problems. The home she inherited from her late mother needs a lot of repairs. So, when she received a message from “Ernie Horner” on Facebook about a loan, she was interested in the…

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