IRS issues warning on child tax credit scams

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is cautioning taxpayers to be vigilant of scammers aiming to steal the child tax credits that only recently began landing in bank accounts.

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“Taxpayers should be on the lookout for a variety of phone, e-mail, text message and social media scams targeting families eligible for the credit. Any communication offering assistance to sign up for the Child Tax Credit or to speed up the monthly payments is likely a scam,” the IRS Criminal Investigation Division stated in its warning issued Tuesday.

According to the agency, some 39 million families were slated to receive their first check from the tax credit that was increased under the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law in March.

>> Related: Child tax credits to go out Thursday; here is what you need to know

Solicitations regarding the tax credit are fake and should be ignored or reported because the IRS never uses any of those methods to request personal or financial information, NPR reported.

“When receiving unsolicited calls or messages, taxpayers should not provide personal information, click on links, or open attachments as this may lead to money loss, tax-related fraud, and identity theft,” the agency stated, offering the following guidelines:

  • The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers via e-mail, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information, even information related to the child tax credit.
  • The IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent, or threatening messages. Aggressive calls warning taxpayers about a lawsuit or arrest are fake.
  • The IRS will not call taxpayers asking them to provide or verify financial information so they can obtain the monthly child tax credit payments.
  • The IRS will not ask for payment via a gift card, wire transfer or cryptocurrency.

According to NPR, the child tax credit disbursement process requires zero action on the part of the majority of taxpayers because the IRS is using bank information already on file from 2019 and 2020 tax returns to initiate the monthly automatic deposits.

>> Related: Child Tax Credit: Do you qualify; do you want to opt out? Check out these tools

Those people not required to file tax returns, however, are advised to visit this bona fide IRS page to provide basic information about future payments, the outlet reported.

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