Scam Alert: Beware Child Tax Credit Scams
Money is on the way to millions of households, and that means scammers are not far behind!
The Child Tax Credit (CTC) taking effect in July will provide monthly payments of up to $300 per child for approximately 40 million households.
The Child Tax Credit (CTC) for 2021 will be greatly expanded:
- Eligible families will get $3,000 per qualifying child between ages 6 and 17 at the end of 2021.
- Eligible families will get $3,600 per qualifying child under age 6 at the end of 2021.
- Advance payments of up to 50% of the total CTC per family will be distributed once a month, from July 15 through Dec. 15, 2021.
The payments will provide struggling families with desperately needed funds unless the scammers get to the money first. Here’s what you need to know about CTC scams and how to avoid them.
How the scams play out
In one variation of the scam, victims receive phone calls, emails, or social media messages appearing to be from the IRS and asking them to authenticate their personal details or share sensitive information to get their CTC funds. Instead of pretending to be the IRS, the scammer may claim to be offering to help the victim get their funds. In either scenario, if the victim follows the instructions, they’ll be playing right into the hands of scammers.
In another variation of the scam, victims land on a spoofed government website and are invited to input their personal information. Unfortunately, this can open the door for scammers to pull off identity theft and more.
What you need to know about the Child Tax Credit and the IRS
- The IRS does not make unsolicited calls or emails. All official communications from the IRS are sent via standard USPS mail.
- You do not need to take any action or share any personal info to receive the Child Tax Credit.
- 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
If you believe you’ve been targeted by a CTC scam, follow the cardinal rule of personal safety: Never share sensitive data with an unverified source. Triple-check the URL on any IRS webpage you visit, as these are easily spoofed.
Finally, report all suspicious activity to the IRS and the FTC. For additional information on the upcoming Child Tax Credits, to check if you qualify, or to update your dependent or banking information, visit the IRS’s CTC webpage directly at IRS.gov
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