Beware of scammers trying to take child tax credit payments

Expect information to only come from IRS through mail

Beware of scammers pretending to be government employees attempting to steal money from you.
Beware of scammers pretending to be government employees attempting to steal money from you.

The first child tax credit payments go out next week, and experts are already warning that along with the money comes the threat of scam artists trying to take it.

Families that are eligible will receive the payments either through direct deposit or a check in the mail.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning this new round of checks could also bring a new round of imposter scams.

“The IRS is the only agency handling all of this stuff, so if any other agency claims to be reaching out to you, that’s a red flag,” said Ashley Gibbard, marketing director for the BBB of eastern Michigan.

If the IRS needs to reach you, they will only do so through a letter in the mail -- you will not receive any texts, calls or emails from the agency.

If you receive contact from someone claiming to be from the IRS, do not trust them: they are pretending to be a government employee.

The imposter scam has been popular throughout the pandemic with con artists pretending to help people get their relief money faster, or get their vaccine faster, and it is just a ploy to get the cash themselves or obtain personal information.

“Don’t click on any links that come via text message, email or anything like that,” Gibbard said.

The payments coming in starting next week are an advance on the child tax credit. If parents qualify, they will get half the credit in monthly payments through December, and the other half when they file their 2021 taxes.

The BBB says that you will never need to pay money to receive these child tax credits. Beware of anyone requesting funds from you.

“If anybody that need any form of payment that’s a huge red flag, anybody asking you to pay anything with a gift card is an even bigger red flag,” Gibbard said.


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About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.