What parents should know about child tax credit scams

IRS, BBB warn about fake emails, texts, phone calls, social media posts

SAN ANTONIO – The first advance payments on child tax credits have barely gone out and already, scammers are trying to take advantage of parents, the IRS and BBB warn.

The IRS issued a warning to “be on the lookout for a variety of phone, e-mail, text message and social media scams targeting families eligible for the credit.”

Families that did not opt-out of the advance payments began receiving, mostly through direct deposit, the first of six monthly payments last week.

“You are almost a prime target for a scammer to say, ‘We’re going to trick them. We’re going to trip them up and say your credit is on the way, but we need more information for next month. Click here,’” Jason Meza with the Better Business Bureau said.

Just as families are anticipating their payments, criminals are exploiting and taking advantage of current events.

“They are always trying to pose as the government, trying to pose as the IRS trying to get information, trying to get a line of credit from your bank, trying to get something out of you,” Meza said.

The IRS warns taxpayers to beware of any communication offering to help you sign up for the tax credit or get it faster.

To help you spot a fake, the IRS says keep this in mind:

  • The IRS does not contact taxpayers by email, text, or social media to request information.
  • The IRS does not leave recorded, urgent or threatening phone messages.
  • The IRS does not ask for payment by gift card, wire transfer or cryptocurrency.

Most eligible taxpayers of minor children don’t have to do a thing to get the advance credit. The IRS is using 2019 and 2020 returns to determine payments and send them automatically.

If a taxpayer has questions about eligibility or to get information about their advance tax credit, the IRS has information on its website IRS.gov.

As for emails, texts and phone calls that appear to be from the IRS, hang up or delete. You can also report them to the IRS, FTC and BBB.

More on KSAT:

How the expanded child tax credit payments work

About the Author

Marilyn Moritz is an award-winning journalist dedicated to digging up information that can make people’s lives a little bit better. As KSAT’S 12 On Your Side Consumer reporter, she focuses on exposing scams and dangerous products and helping people save money.

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