BBB has recently issued warnings regarding potential scams that target parents via the new Child Tax Credit. Better Business Bureau has spotted and tracked these scams during the past weeks, many articles on this topic having emerged in the media at the end of July.
Only a few days after the Internal Revenue Service made an official announcement stating that they are going to offer parents Child Tax Credit advances, scammers have immediately started to contact parents in a malicious attempt to obtain sensitive personal information or even money.
Most of these scammers prefer to make contact by calling. Alternatively, some also contact people by email or text. Regardless of the communication channel, there is one feature all scammers have in common. They communicate in a highly formal and professional manner, to sound more convincing. What they basically do is that they promise to offer parents a way to gain faster access to their child tax credit.
The recent Child Tax Credit changes aim to help families get advanced payments for these credits. The IRS will practically pay half of the total amount due for these credits in advanced, each month, starting 15th July through December. Parents who are eligible for the credit will receive half of it during these months and the other half only after they file their taxes for 2021.
Naturally, for some families these amounts are essential and being able to get them sooner is a luring idea. Scammers take advantage of this weakness and offer to help parents access the funds easier, in exchange for personal information or even money. Scammers not only promise quicker payments, but they even try to convince people that they are able to get more money than what is due based on the eligibility criteria they meet.
To be able identify and avoid these child tax credit scams, it’s important to understand how the IRS actually works. According to John Hessinger, the Community Development Director of the Pacific Southwest Division of the BBB, parents should be cautious if they receive any phone or email in this regard and pay particular attention to how contact is made. As it often happens in official circumstances, government entities send letters to ask for or offer information. This is also the case of the International Revenue Service.
If the IRS needs to reach out to taxpayers in relation to their correlated Child Tax Credit, they will do it by sending an official governmental letter through the U.S. Postal Service, not via email, let alone phone call or text message. Therefore, to avoid impostors who are posing as official representatives, the first thing to consider is their approach. If these people claim that you send any personal information such as social security numbers, credit, or debit card information, it is never a good idea to comply with their requests. The IRS will never ask citizens to direct message them such sensitive information, send it over email, or dictate it over the phone.
These scams are another proof of how adaptable scammers can be. The bottom line is that parents who have recently received suspicions phone calls or emails from persons who introduced themselves as IRS workers and promised different amounts of money related to Child Tax Credit or required to be given personal or financial information such as bank accounts should be extremely cautious. Any notification that is not sent via official letter should raise a red flag.
Moreover, parents who have received such phone calls or emails can also access the Better Business Bureau scam tracker and see if any other similar attempts in their area have been reported as scams. To access this tracker and more information on these recent scams, you need to go to the BBB scam page. Here, you can also report the incident, thus enabling other parents to get informed and be aware that these attempts have been made in their community. The content of this section is based on victim accounts and those of potential victims. Reporting a scam here takes very little time and can contribute to helping other parents stay safe. Therefore, if you were or might have been a victim of Child Tax Credit scams, don’t hesitate to report the scam.