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 payments will provide families with much 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 information 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 Federal Trade Commission.
For additional information on the upcoming Child Tax Credits visit the IRS’s CTC webpage directly at IRS.gov