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Scammers are using the child tax credit to try to steal from unsuspecting Americans, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Often, these criminals perpetuate a type of “government impersonator” scam. They contact people by phone, text, e-mail and social media, pretending to be IRS agents and directing victims to fake websites that seem legitimate.

The American Rescue Plan, a pandemic relief law passed in March, temporarily enhanced the value of the child tax credit and authorized the IRS send funds in monthly installments through 2021.

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Families can get up to $250 or $300 a month per child, depending on their age. The IRS has issued $61 billion to households since July.

“Many people have gotten their advance Child Tax Credit payments this year, but scammers are taking advantage of this new program to try to trick you out of money or information,” Emily Wu, an attorney in the FTC’s Division of Consumer and Business Education, wrote.

The IRS is issuing payments automatically to families based on tax information it has on file. The agency collects that data from annual tax returns or, for those who don’t file a return, via a new online portal through which low earners and others can sign up.

Families have until Nov. 15 to sign up for advance payments…

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