By now, households are beginning to receive monthly payments as part of the expanded Child Tax Credit program. Eligible families will receive payments of up to $250 per month for each child ages 6 to 17, and up to $300 per month for each child younger than 6 years old. Unfortunately, scam artists are using this as a prime opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting families.

Here’s what you should know about these particular scams and how to prevent them from happening to you:

How it occurs
Criminals are pulling out all of the stops to obtain personal and account information related to the Child Tax Credit. Victims may receive a text, phone call or an email from an alleged IRS representative. As part of that interaction, the “representative” will either ask to verify or give sensitive information before consumers can receive funds.

In some cases, people may come across a copycat IRS website to update personal information. The site will prompt you to click on a link.  

The scammer may also work under the guise of wanting to help parents, thus trying to gain trust.

Protect yourself
No matter what, do not offer personal or account information over the phone or respond to an email, phone call or text asking for confidential information. The IRS, SLCCU or any financial institution will never call, text, email or contact you through social media to ask for account details.

Remember, the payments come directly from the IRS. No action is required on your part to receive the Child Tax Credit benefit. As long as you’ve already filed your 2019 or 2020 tax return OR if you previously signed up to receive a stimulus check from the IRS, you don’t have to do anything.

If you believe that you have been scammed, please visit the IRS website.