A recent scam has surfaced around the Child Tax Credit being offered by the IRS as part of the American Rescue Plan. This monthly payment offers $3,600 a year for children under six years old and $3,000 a year for children over that age.

To identify eligible recipients the IRS advised it would use previously filed taxes to automatically enroll families raising children or, for those that had not filed before, they invited non-filers to sign up by November 15. Scammers saw this as an opportunity to use to their advantage.

The IRS process for eligible recipients for checking your status is via a Child Tax Credit Update Portal. The IRS will never contact anyone via text message, social media channels or phone call to request personal or financial information. However, as the November deadline approached, scammers sent increasing numbers of robocalls and robotexts attempting to bait information from unwitting victims.

Typical scams included those that claimed they could help get families receive the tax credit after the deadline passed. These scammers asked individuals to fill out fake eligibility forms or led them to a fake IRS website to claim their tax credit. An unsuspecting American may easily fall for a call from the IRS offering monthly payments, especially if they need support.

The texts or calls may say this:

“Parents don’t need to be employed or otherwise have earnings to claim up to $300 monthly Child Tax Credit payment. Fill out this form to see if your family is eligible.” 

“Did you know the Child Tax Credit reserves money for children every month? Click here to learn more.”

“Millions of families are getting their first monthly Child Tax Credit, a new payment of up to $300 per child. Time is running out to claim your credit.”

These messages may appear legitimate, but the IRS does not send them. As with all robocalls and robotexts, do not actively engage with unsolicited callers or click links included in unsolicited texts. Always visit the IRS website if you have questions about the Child Tax Credit.

Call-blocking apps, including those powered by TNS Call Guardian®, are a great resource for reporting and blocking unwanted robocalls. Stay vigilant and share information about scams with others.

 Jim Tyrrell is Senior Director of Product Marketing at TNS with specific responsibility for TNS’ Communications Market solutions.

TNS Call Guardian® is a registered trademark of Transaction Network Services, Inc.