In mid-July the Internal Revenue Service began distributing extra monthly payments to families in New Jersey with children age 17 and younger as part of the expanded child tax credit program.

Now comes word scammers are trying to cash in on the program’s expansion.

Mike Geraghty, the director of the Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell at the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, said bad actors are making calls and sending out texts and emails telling parents to validate their eligibility for the program.

He said scammers are directing people to fraudulent websites to collect their Social Security numbers, brith dates and other information.

“In some cases they’re saying that they could expedite the payments that are coming, $300 per month, and instead get a lump sum,” said Geraghty.

And in other cases, victims are told they have received a tax credit over-payment, and they must return the money by sending it in the…

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