By Joseph Chalfant

Criminals are fast at work developing new methods to scam parents across the country by targeting individuals awaiting their Child Tax Credit payments. 

Although the IRS has not released any information estimating the number of individuals who have fallen victim to the fraud, it did note that the rate of scams has grown as payments have begun to roll out in higher volume.

“The scam is fooling people to click a malicious link that leads to a fake IRS website,” tech expert Kurt Knutsson told Fox Business. “Another version of the same scam sends you to a message appearing to originate from the secretary of the Treasury. It asks the victim to complete an eligibility form – the whole thing is bogus.”

Just as with the pandemic stimulus payments, most eligible individuals will find their payments deposited directly into the bank accounts on file from 2019 and 2020 tax returns, according to NPR. Those who have not received their payment should take caution and only provide information to the resources offered directly by the IRS.

The agency released a warning statement on July 20 with a warning to U.S. taxpayers, including information about the scams and a way to report suspicious activity.

“While millions of American families started receiving the advance Child Tax Credit payments last week, criminals were already looking for innovative tactics to take advantage of unwitting victims,” the statement said. “Taxpayers should be on the lookout for a variety of phone, email, text message and social media scams targeting families eligible for the credit.”

The IRS further advised citizens that its practices never include contact over email or text, pre-recorded and threatening messages, or requests for financial information verification or payment via cryptocurrency, gift cards, or wire transfer.

“Any communication offering assistance to sign up for the Child Tax Credit or to speed up the monthly payments is likely a scam,” the statement continued. “When receiving unsolicited calls or messages, taxpayers should not provide personal information, click on links, or open attachments as this may lead to money loss, tax-related fraud, and identity theft.”