Many have been going through some tough times over the last year. Further help is on the way, as some American Rescue Plan Act payments are due to start in July. The Internal Revenue Service will be sending an advance on the child tax credit through various payment methods.
For a lot of citizens, financial help comes as a welcome relief. But scammers are also paying attention to the impending payments, rubbing their hands together with glee.
Whenever a massive campaign or national rollout makes it into the news, cybercriminals and scammers are standing ready to pounce. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of victims for them to target. Keep reading for signs that you’re being scammed, and make sure to share this article with family and friends, so they also know.
Here’s the backstory
The American Rescue Plan Act has also been called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package and is a whopping $1.9 trillion set aside to speed up the economy’s recovery. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many citizens lost their jobs, homes or property, and the Act is a measure to help people recover.
If you qualify, you will be receiving half of your child tax credit from July 15 through December 2021. The other half of the child tax credit will be paid to you when you file your taxes.
You can check with the official IRS website if you qualify for the tax credits, how much you would roughly be getting, or address any issues you might have. If you don’t want to receive advance payments, you can unenroll on the site as well.
How to stay safe
Cybercriminals and fraudsters are always eager to scam people out of their money, especially if they know that payments like the American Rescue Plan Act are on their way.
“When money from the government is in the news, we know scammers are about to run their standard playbook. They may call, email, text, or DM you,” the Federal Trade Commission warned in a blog post.
The Better Business Bureau and FTC shared the following tips to stay safe:
- Only the IRS will be sending these payments. Anyone trying to “help” you get your child tax credit is really after your money.
- Avoid Impostor scams – Government agencies like the IRS or Social Security Administration will not call, text, DM, or email you.
- Do not give out any personal information, like Social Security numbers, bank account information, or credit/debit card numbers.
- Eligibility requirements and payment disbursements are monitored by the IRS only.
- When someone requires payments by gift card, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency, it is likely a scam.