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Stay Safe This Holiday Season
We want you to have a safe and joyous season. With this being a very busy time of year for scammers, we’ve prepared some helpful information to help you learn how to protect yourself from fraud.
Fraudsters will often impersonate legitimate businesses in an attempt to trick you into trusting them with sensitive information. Always keep your guard up for potential scams.
- If any text, call or email seems suspicious, do not engage
- Do not click on unknown links in emails or text messages
- When in doubt about a call that's asking for personal information, hang up
- Go to a company's website and find their legitimate contact information and then reach out directly
Scammers come up with new tricks all the time, so stay informed to stay protected. The safety and protection section of our blog is a great resource to learn more about different types of fraud and to keep up with the latest tactics scammers are using.
Check out some of the posts below and share them with your loved ones so scammers won’t ruin your holiday season!
- Text and Phone Bank Fraud Scam
- How to Avoid Scams this Holiday Season (Infographic)
- Scam to Watch Out For: Money Mule (Video)
- How SIM Swapping and Port-Out Scams Can Lead to Account Takeovers
- How to Spot a Voice Phishing (Vishing) Scam
Understanding the Child Tax Credit
As part of the American Rescue Plan Act, passed into law in March 2021, significant changes were made to the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The changes include increased value to the CTC, increased age limits for children, and advanced payment of the CTC.
The IRS will pay half the total Child Tax Credit amount in advance monthly payments beginning July 15. You will claim the other half when you file your 2021 income tax return, in 2022. These changes apply to tax year 2021 only. Unenrollment is an option, depending on your personal circumstances and needs. To understand more about this option, as it does come with a deadline, visit this IRS resource.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses the direct deposit information you provided in your 2020 tax return to apply the monthly payments. If you did not provide direct deposit information, you can expect to receive a traditional paper check in the mail. If you aren’t required to file a tax return and haven’t given the IRS your information already, you will need to enroll as a non-filer for the Child Tax Credit.
Inquiries regarding the Child Tax Credit need to be directed to the IRS, as Suncoast Credit Union cannot assist with CTC payment enrollment or other tax advisement issues related to the CTC.
Knowing If You Qualify
To qualify for advance Child Tax Credit payments, you — and your spouse, if you filed a joint return — must have:
- Filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return and claimed the Child Tax Credit on the return; or
- Given the IRS your information in 2020 to receive the Economic Impact Payment using the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool; and
- A main home in the United States for more than half the year (the 50 states and the District of Columbia) or file a joint return with a spouse who has a main home in the United States for more than half the year; and
- A qualifying child who is under age 18 at the end of 2021 and who has a valid Social Security number; and
- Made less than certain income limits.
If you qualify, you’ll receive:
- $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.
Your tax return information was applied by the IRS to automatically enroll you for advance payments. You do not need to take any additional actions to receive the advance payments, only to unenroll.
The IRS has extensive resources to help you understand the details of the Child Tax Credit. To learn more, please visit the resources provided by the Internal Revenue Service.
Emergency Rental Assistance Available Through National COVID Relief Funds
Millions of Americans received a reprieve from the most direct consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those impacted by job losses, through a national moratorium on evictions. This halt on evictions, put into effect by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2020, was taken by the federal agency to provide basic housing security during the most uncertain times of the pandemic.
On August 26, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision ending the CDC eviction moratorium.
Suncoast Credit Union understands how incredibly distressing the risk of eviction could be to some members. Although Suncoast cannot directly prevent rental evictions for members faced with the possibility, we want members to know there are resources available.
Many of the programs established throughout the country were funded through two national pieces of legislation passed into law during the pandemic to address economic issues for effected Americans. Congress has allocated more than $45 billion in rental assistance to address the crisis, and only a fraction of the money has been spent thus far.
If approved for the relief, applicants facing eventual eviction could receive up to 18 months of rent coverage. If you are facing potential eviction and have not yet applied, you should act quickly. Doing so could help you stay in your home longer, as funding is being provided on a first come, first served basis for those that qualify.
The relief funds were provided directly to states, U.S. territories, and local governments so you are encouraged to contact the different relief funds in your area to learn more about applying for rental assistance and to learn more about other forms of aid during this difficult period.
Please visit the resources below for more information.
Resources for Floridians
Florida counties and cities have established emergency rental assistance programs to help those facing possible eviction. Visit the Florida emergency rental assistance portal to find assistance in your area.
National Listing of Resources
More information on emergency rental assistance and a national listing of available resources are available here, listed by state.
The Treasury Department has put together a list of websites of Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs that help tenants and landlords find assistance.
If you are having difficulty navigating the various web-based resources, you can call 211, to be connected to a specialist who can help you find a local agency or community organization to help with your housing needs.