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BBB urges people to watch out for child tax credit scams

phone scam
Posted at 9:29 AM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 09:29:11-04

WEST MICHIGAN — The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan issued a warning Thursday to watch out for potential scammers trying to take advantage of those who may qualify for the child tax credit.

Con artists may pretend to “help” people get their payments earlier, get more money or commit identity theft, according to the BBB and the Federal Trade Commission.

The IRS is commonly impersonated in the U.S.

Individuals may go to IRS.gov to see if they qualify for the tax credits, how much they may receive and how to address any problems.

They’ll also have the option to unenroll from the advance payments program.

From July 15 through December 2021, those who qualify for payments through the American Rescue Plan Act will receive monthly payments from the IRS by direct deposits or paper checks.

These payments are an advance on the child tax credit, which means eligible people will get up to half of their child tax credit in these monthly payments and the other half when they filed their 2021 taxes.

BBB and FTC shared the following tips to avoid scammers:

  • Avoid imposter scams. Government agencies like the IRS or Social Security Administration will not call, text, DM or email people.
  • Do not give out any personal information, like social security numbers, bank account information or credit/debit card numbers over the phone or through email.
  • Eligibility requirements and payment disbursements are monitored only by the IRS.
  • When someone requires payments by gift card, wire transfers or cryptocurrency, it is likely a scam.

“Scammers wait for events like these to prey on those who need the payments,” said Phil Catlett, president of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan. “It is important that people take their time and double check the offer they receive to make sure they are not being ripped off. Once a scammer gets your money, it is very hard to get it back.”

READ MORE: 1st child tax credit payments go out to millions Thursday; Biden to speak about it

READ MORE: Financial expert shares how to make the most of your child tax credit