Sen. Gary Peters announces proposal to help small businesses identify fraud

US Senator Gary Peters

MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Michigan’s small businesses are being inundated with scams that could end up costing our communities jobs and money.

On Wednesday U.S. Senator Gary Peters announced a proposal that could help companies identify fraud before it happens.

Small businesses in Lansing say they get tons of emails from people trying to rip them off. Now, one local CEO is teaming up with Sen. Peters to combat the issue.

Message Makers in Lansing will soon celebrate 40 years of business. CEO Terry Terry built the video production company from the ground up.

“In Message Makers, we get people to cry, laugh, imagine, act,” said Terry. “We are creators of experiences that transform. We really help organizations tell their story to help them learn and build community.”

Having done business all over the world, there came a point when Terry and his ten employees wanted to bid on projects for the federal government.

Competing for a federal contract is a daunting task for a small business.

"The process of itself doing the application is where there is some challenge," said Terry.

That's why Terry asked for the help of PTAC, a government service that helps small businesses successfully win and complete government contracts.

Right now, Terry says a problem for many small businesses is they don't know about PTAC, so sometimes small businesses fall for scams that mislead them into paying high sums of money for contract assistance.

The scams often come in the form of an email.

"They sound official,” said Terry. Sometimes it's hard to weave through or swift through did it come from the federal government or not."

To help, Sen. Peters is introducing a bill to protect small businesses from falling victim to fraud when they register for federal contracts.

The Act would require small businesses to be notified that free assistance - like PTAC - is available.

"This legislation will create that kind of effort to reduce fraud and make sure we are fully informing businesses even before they've created the registration process," said Sen. Peters.

Sen. Peters' goal is to ensure small businesses get their fair share of federal contracts, so main streets in Michigan can thrive.

Sen. Peters is teaming up with Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins of Maine to get the legislation passed.

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