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July 12, 2021 COVID-19

Beware of Child Tax Credit Scams

The newly expanded advanced Child Tax Credit (CTC), a part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, will provide monthly payments of up to $300 per child for American guardians across the country. But scammers are eagerly waiting to deceive parents out of their upcoming Child Tax Credit.

Here’s what you need to know about Child Tax Credit scams and how to avoid them.

How the Scams Play Out

There are several variations of the Child Tax Credit scam, each designed to extort parents and guardians out of their rightful CTC funds.

In one scam, victims receive phone calls, emails, or social media messages appearing to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). A scammer may ask them to authenticate personal details about themselves or share sensitive information in order to receive their CTC funds.

Scammers may claim to be in the position of “helping” the victim receive their funds, in lieu of pretending to represent the IRS. The scammer is clearly attempting to steal valuable information from the unsuspecting victim.

In another variation of the scam, victims land on a spoofed government website where they are prompted to input their personal information. This scam is especially common and easy to manipulate if you don’t know what to look for.

Remember that all authentic government sites will end in .gov. Triple check the URL on any IRS webpage you visit, as these are easily spoofed.

What You Need To Know About the Potential Scams

Knowledge is your best protection against potential scams. Here’s what you need to know about the CTC and the way the IRS operates:

  • The IRS does not make unsolicited calls or emails. All official communications from the IRS are sent via standard USPS mail. The IRS will never call, email, text, or DM you asking you to share sensitive information.
  • You do not need to take any action or share personal information to receive the Child Tax Credit. If you’ve filed taxes in 2020, or even in 2019, and you’re eligible to receive the CTC funds. The monthly payments will arrive via paper check, debit card or direct deposit without any action on your part. You only need to update information on one of the upcoming IRS portals if you’ve had a change in income or the number of dependents in your household.
  • Only the IRS will be issuing the Child Tax Credits. Anyone else claiming to “help” you receive the payments is a scammer.

If You’ve Been Targeted

As the date of the first advanced CTC approaches, follow the cardinal rule of personal safety and never share sensitive data with an unverified source. If you believe you’ve been targeted by a CTC scam, report all suspicious activity to the IRS and the FTC immediately.

For additional information on the upcoming CTC visit the IRS’s CTC webpage directly at IRS.gov.

This article is for educational purposes only. WeStreet Credit Union makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or specific suitability of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as legal, tax or financial advice. Nor does the information directly relate to our products and/or services terms and conditions.