Scammers may take advantage of upcoming child tax credit payments, BBB warns

Consumer Investigations

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ With the advance child tax credit rollout beginning relatively soon, the Better Business Bureau is warning everyone to watch out for IRS impostors.

BBB’s Paula Fleming tells 12 News scammers have been capitalizing on the influx of federal support programs being offered as the country rebounds from the pandemic.

“Criminals have seen the various federal support programs as potential goldmines and have attempted to defraud vulnerable Americans out of their money,” Fleming said.

Under the American Rescue Plan, eligible parents can receive set payments of up to 50% of next year’s child tax credit in advance. The IRS plans to begin sending those payments out starting next week.

Fleming said it’s important to note that the IRS will not call, text or email you looking for personal or financial information. She said the BBB has already received reports that people have been contacted by phone and asked for their bank account information.

If someone asks for payments through wire transfers or gift cards, it’s likely a scam, according to the BBB.

“These scam artists pray on vulnerability, they pray on the fact that people are still out of work,” she said. “A lot of people could use this money and they put fear into them that they won’t receive it unless they provide their financial information.”

Anyone who’s questioning whether a request for their personal or financial information is legitimate is urged to visit the IRS website for more information.

If you believe you’ve fallen victim to a scam, Fleming suggests filing a report online through BBB’s Scam Tracker.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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