Protect Yourself: Spotting Warning Signs of Misleading Employee Retention Scams

In recent years, employee retention scams have become increasingly prevalent, targeting individuals unaware of the warning signs. These scams can cause financial loss and lead to improper filing of claims. To protect yourself and your hard-earned money, it is crucial to identify these misleading schemes and take simple yet effective steps to avoid falling victim to them. This blog will discuss some common warning signs of employee retention scams and provide practical tips to prevent improperly filing claims.

Unsolicited Communication:

One of the most apparent warning signs of a potential scam is receiving unsolicited communication. Scammers often contact individuals via phone calls, emails, or even social media, claiming to be from a government agency or a company offering employee retention benefits. Be cautious if you receive such messages out of the blue, and always verify the source’s legitimacy before sharing any personal or financial information.

Requests for Personal Information:

Through unsolicited communications, legitimate organizations will never ask for personal or financial information, such as your social security number, bank account details, or credit card information. Scammers, on the other hand, may try to extract this information under the pretense of processing employee retention benefits. Remember, guarding your personal information and only sharing it with trusted sources is essential.

High-Pressure Tactics:

Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to push individuals into making hasty decisions. They might create a sense of urgency by stating that you must act immediately to secure employee retention benefits. Legitimate programs typically provide ample time and resources for individuals to understand and apply for benefits. If you feel rushed or pressured, take a step back and verify the information independently.

Upfront Fees or Payment Requests:

Another red flag to watch out for is any upfront fee or payment request. Legitimate employee retention programs do not require individuals to pay anything in advance to receive benefits. Scammers may ask for processing fees or claim that payment is necessary to expedite your claim. Avoid providing any financial information or making payments unless you are certain of the program’s legitimacy.

Lack of Official Documentation:

When dealing with employee retention benefits, always expect official documentation. Legitimate programs will provide you with written materials, application forms, and clear instructions on proceeding. If the communication you receive lacks proper documentation or seems unprofessional, it’s a sign that something might be amiss. Request official documentation or contact the organization directly to verify the program’s authenticity.

Simple Steps to Avoid Improperly Filing Claims:

  1. Educate Yourself: Stay informed about legitimate employee retention programs and processes. Be aware of the official channels through which you can apply for benefits, and regularly check reliable sources for updates.

  2. Verify the Source: Before engaging with any communication claiming to be related to employee retention benefits, verify the source independently. Look up official contact information for the organization or government agency in question and reach out directly to confirm the legitimacy of the communication.

  3. Be Skeptical of Unsolicited Communication: Treat unsolicited communication with caution. If you receive an unexpected call or email regarding employee retention benefits, do not immediately provide any personal or financial information. Instead, conduct your own research and contact the organization using official channels.

  4. Consult with Experts: If you have doubts or concerns about the legitimacy of an employee retention program, seek advice from professionals or legal experts who specialize in employment law. They can provide guidance and help you navigate through the process correctly.

In conclusion, Protecting yourself from misleading employee retention scams and avoiding improper claims requires vigilance, skepticism, and informed decision-making. By staying aware of the warning signs discussed in this blog and following

NEW 2021 REJECT CODE: F8962-070

This is the IRS’ top reject so far across the country, across all software vendors. Please disseminate this to your staff as you see fit.

  • This reject occurs when the IRS database has record of any SSN on the return receiving an advance payment.
    • Taxpayer, spouse, dependent.
  • Even if they received an advance payment for just one month, the 8962 is required.
  • Providers have until January 31st to mail the 1095-A to taxpayers, so many have not received theirs yet.
  • If they dispute the need for the 8962, the return will be processed by hand, which will result in significant delays, usually 3-6 months.
  • History also tells us the IRS tends to bypass the bank products on many of these hand processed returns. They simply mail a check to the taxpayer.
  • We are still awaiting guidance from the IRS about attaching a PDF for dispute/calculations.

This website has a great deal of useful information on the subject:


On November 17th IRS unveiled a new online identity verification process for accessing self-help tools.

In our opinion, the IRS ID verify process was way overdue for an upgrade. Successfully verifying their old platform was an act of GOD. Rumor is… this process is much easier… probably because they outsourced it.

To get to the IRS – ID.ME sign in or create a new account link – CLICK HERE

Here are all the other important links that you may be interested in

Child Tax Credit Update Portal – CLICK HERE

Online Account – CLICK HERE

Get Transcript Online – CLICK HERE

Get An Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) – CLICK HERE

Online Payment Agreement – CLICK HERE

Hope this is helpful!


Here is a short update on what changed with the child tax credit & advance child tax credit.

  • One year expansion for 2021 tax year only, per the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021)
  • For tax year 2021, the Child Tax Credit is increased from $2,000 per qualifying child to:
    • $3,600 for children ages 5 and under at the end of 2021; and
    • $3,000 for children ages 6 through 17 at the end of 2021

Note: The $500 nonrefundable credit for other dependents amount has not changed.

  • The advance: 50% of it will be paid in advance with monthly payments. But those montly payments will only rund form July to Decemebr 2021. (The payments will be made on July 15, August 13, Spetember 15, October 15, November, 15 and December 15.) The remaining 50% will be calimed as a credit on your 2021 tax return.
  • Filers can OPT-OUT of the advance by going online and selecting to receive the full CTC on their 2021 tax return instead.
  • IF filers are paid too much (i.e., more than the child tax credit they’re entitled to claim for 2021), they might have to pay back some of the money.
    • Filers with 2021 modified AGI no greater than $40,000 (single filers), $50,000 (head-ofhousehold filers), or$60,000 (joint filers) won’t have to repay any child tax credit overpayments.
    • Filers with a modified AGI from $40,000 to $80,000 (single filers), $50,000 to $100,000 (head-of-household filers), or $60,000 to $120,000 (joint filers) will need to repay a portion of any overpayment.
    • Filers with modified AGIs above those amounts will have to pay back the entire overpayment.
  • The $2,500-of-earned-income required is dropped for 2021, too. Children who are 17 years old also qualify for the 2021 credit.


  • The Child Tax Credit begins to be reduced to $2,000 per child if your modified AGI in 2021 exceeds:
    • $150,000 if married and filing a joint return or if filing as a qualifying widow or widower;
    • $112,500 if filing as head of household; or
    • $75,000 if you are a single filer or are married and filing a separate return.
  • The first phaseout reduces the Child Tax Credit by $50 for each $1,000 (or fraction thereof) by which your modified AGI exceeds the income threshold described above that is applicable to you.
  • The Child Tax Credit won’t begin to be reduced below $2,000 per child until your modified AGI in 2021 exceeds:
    • $400,000 if married and filing a joint return; or
    • $200,000 for all other filing statuses.

The second phaseout reduces the Child Tax Credit by $50 for each $1,000 (or fraction thereof) by which your modified AGI exceeds the income threshold described above that is applicable to you.

If you prefer, here is the link to FAQ – CLICK HERE