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Child Tax Credit Cheats

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*ring, ring*

“Hello?”

“This is the IRS. Our records indicate that you are eligible to receive an advance payment on your child tax credit.”

“Ok. What do I need to do?”

“Can I verify your social security number?”

“Why yes, it’s ***-**-****.”

“Thanks. You’ll get your payment in just a few days.”

“Great, thank you!”

A conversation such as the one above may sound believable, but it in fact is a scam. With the flurry of legitimate government payments associated with the American Rescue Plan Act, including the child tax credit advance payments, come scammers preying.

As of July 15, 2021, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, the government began issuing monthly payments of the child tax credit to eligible families. These payments will be made through direct deposit, check or debit cards. The IRS will use your 2020 or 2019 tax return to determine your eligibility. If you’re unsure of your eligibility, you can check here. The payment are legitimate and you won’t have to do anything to receive yours if you are eligible.

How will I know it's a scam?

  • Stranger danger. Anyone who reaches out to you through text, e-mail, phone or social media or claims that they can get you an advance on your child tax credit payments shouldn’t be trusted. The IRS will NEVER contact you to ask for money or verify information. The IRS communicates through mail. If you’re unsure, contact you’re the IRS directly.
  • “We’ll need you to wire us some money before you can get your payment”. The IRS won’t require you to pay them before you receive your payment. Nobody who is legitimate will ever ask for payment through gift card, wire transfers through MoneyGram, Western Union or cryptocurrency. Anyone who does this is trying to scam you.
  • “CLICK HERE to get your payment”. Be wary of links on any unsolicited e-mails, social media, or websites that are posing as legitimate sites. Only visit trusted websites; IRS.gov should be the only website that you visit if you have any questions with your child tax credit. Double check the web address to make sure that it only says irs.gov and that there aren’t any hyphens or other symbols. You can find commonly asked questions and their answers on the IRS website. If you happen to come across a strange e-mail or website posing as the IRS, report it to [email protected]
  • “This is an urgent message from the IRS. Call us back to verify your information to receive your payment”. The IRS doesn’t leave pre-recorded, urgent, or threatening messages. If anyone leaves a message claiming to be from the IRS stating that you owe money or that they can help you get an advance, it’s likely a scam. Call the IRS directly to follow up on the communication if you’re concerned it could be legitimate.

More general info for avoiding a tax scam can be found here.

What can I do if I've been scammed?

It can sometimes be difficult to identify a scam. With the resources that scammers have available nowadays they can often make elaborate scams and they can be good at their job. Trust your instincts. If you think that you are being scammed, it’s best to stop and think.

A few questions that you can ask yourself are:

  • Has someone contacted you unexpectedly?
  • Have they promised you anything?
  • Have they asked you to do anything or reveal any identifying or private information?
  • Is this too good to be true?


If you ask yourself these questions, you can usually identify if you’re being scammed. However, if you think you’ve been scammed, don’t panic. Stop any communication and the best thing that you can do is report the scam to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov.

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