Avoiding Advance Child Tax Credit Payment Scams

Posted on Aug. 17, 2021

a mother and daughter viewing a tabletJust like with stimulus payments, swindlers are out there, waiting to get their hands on your money. “Cyber criminals use every opportunity to try to scam people out of their money,” according to a July 2021 statement by the IRS. The good news is that most payments will arrive via direct deposit from the IRS.

The IRS has set up a new online tool for people who have not previously filed taxes. The site will allow non-filers to provide or update their banking information. You can get more information and manage payments by visiting this page on the IRS website: www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021.

Scammers are already at work — texting, calling, or emailing — asking you to verify or provide financial information to speed up the delivery of your payment. This is an attempt to get your Advance Child Tax Credit payment and gain access to all of your financial information. The link they provide looks official and may appear to come from a federal agency, but it’s fake. The IRS does not send these kinds of unsolicited texts or emails. Additionally, the IRS will never ask you to buy gift cards to cover your tax payment or threaten you with jail or lawsuits.

Beware of the following signs of fraud via email, phone, text message, social media, or in-person:

Bogus checks: These checks will be for an odd amount, specifically including cents. It will ask you to call a number or verify information online to cash it. A twist on this scam is that you receive a bogus check and deposit it. The fraudster will reach out and claim that the amount was incorrect and ask you to return the overpaid funds. But, when your financial institution eventually reviews the check and determines that it’s fake, you lose not only the money you thought you deposited but also the funds you returned to the fraudster.

Payment request: You do not have to pay to get your payment or to get your payment faster.

Payment options: The IRS does not accept payments using gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency.

Requests for bank account information: The IRS will send your Advance Child Tax Credit payment to the same account where you receive your tax return and the IRS already has this information. For individuals without direct deposit information on file with the IRS, visit this site to provide or update your bank information: www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021.

The best way to keep yourself safe from scammers is to only give out your personal information when you have made the call yourself.

If you wish to comment on this article or have an idea for a topic we should cover, we want to hear from you! Email us at editor@texell.org.

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