Understanding Employee Retention Credit Scams and Protecting Your Business

Emily Thompson
June 9, 2023

Understanding Employee Retention Credit Scams and Protecting Your Business

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways


Definition of Employee Retention Credit Scams

Fraudulent schemes leveraging the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) program to exploit businesses seeking financial relief.

Common Indicators

Offers too good to be true, upfront payment requests, lack of transparency, and no written contracts from the offering parties.

Protection Measures

Verify information, avoid upfront payments, research the offering entity, and adhere to IRS guidelines concerning the ERC.

Identifying Legitimate Opportunities

Understanding the ERC program, being skeptical about over-promising offers, and verifying the credentials of the offering party.

Action against Suspected Scams

Report suspected scams to local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and avoid sharing personal or financial information.


In the face of the pandemic-induced economic downturn, numerous businesses are turning to the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) to retain their workforce. However, this has spurred a surge in employee retention credit scams that prey on financially strapped businesses. Being aware of these scams and adopting protective measures is crucial for businesses.

What is the Employee Retention Credit Scam?

Employee retention credit scams are on the rise, with fraudsters offering bogus services related to the ERC. The scams typically revolve around deceiving employers into paying for unrendered services like filing for credit or furnishing misleading information to the IRS. Awareness and adherence to the IRS's guidelines for the ERC are vital to steer clear of these scams.

Common Signs of an Employee Retention Credit Scam

Identifying an employee retention credit scam can be challenging as they often masquerade as legitimate opportunities. Common red flags include:

  • Offers that seem too good to be true.
  • Requests for personal information or upfront payment.
  • Lack of transparency, references, or contact information.
  • Absence of a written contract detailing the agreement terms.

By recognizing these signs, you can avoid falling prey to these scams.

How to Protect Yourself from Employee Retention Credit Scams

With employee retention credit scams proliferating, it's crucial to recognize the warning signs:

  • Overly lucrative offers for minimal effort.
  • Requirement of contract signing before credit receipt.
  • Lack of company background or legitimacy.

Being skeptical and conducting thorough research on the offering entity are key steps to evade such scams.

Tips for Identifying Legitimate Employee Retention Credit Opportunities

Shielding yourself from employee retention credit scams entails distinguishing genuine ERC opportunities. Ensure a thorough understanding of the ERC program, skepticism towards overly attractive offers, and verification of the credentials of the offering party. In case of doubt, consulting with reputable consumer protection organizations is advisable.

What to Do if You Suspect an Employee Retention Credit Scam

If an employee retention credit scam is suspected, immediate reporting to the IRS and local law enforcement is imperative. Awareness of the scam signs and potential repercussions, including fines and criminal charges, is crucial. Vigilance and prompt action against suspected scams can significantly mitigate the risks posed to your business.


The menace of employee retention credit scams is escalating, with severe financial repercussions for the unwary. Awareness, meticulous research, and prompt reporting of suspected scams are pivotal in safeguarding your business against these fraudulent schemes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is an Employee Retention Credit Scam?
A1: A deceitful scheme exploiting the ERC program to swindle businesses by offering fake services or misleading information regarding the program.

Q2: What are some common signs of an Employee Retention Credit Scam?
A2: Unsolicited communications, requests for upfront payment, or personal/financial information are common scam indicators.

Q3: How can I protect myself from Employee Retention Credit Scams?
A3: Stay informed about common scam signs, verify any ERC-related information, and avoid sharing personal/financial details.

Q4: What tips can I use to identify legitimate Employee Retention Credit Opportunities?
A4: Verify the source of ERC information, research the offering entity, and consult with reputable consumer protection agencies if in doubt.

Q5: What should I do if I suspect an Employee Retention Credit Scam?
A5: Report the suspected scam to local law enforcement, and the FTC, and avoid providing any personal or financial information to the scammer.