IRS WARNING: Beware of Child Tax Credit scams
The IRS has been actively warning American families about scammers who are trying to steal their child tax credit payments. With the second of the monthly installments of child tax credit payments going out this week, SPOTLIGHT wanted to remind families that scammers are targeting you, so don’t get conned out of your money. Cyber criminals are using phone calls, emails, text messages, and other social media to trick you, so be aware.
The IRS issued a caution that families should be alert to criminals who contact you to verify your information. Such contacts are fake and should be ignored or reported. The IRS never uses any of those methods to request personal or financial information saying, “When it comes to phone calls, remember the IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent or threatening messages. For example, if you get a voice mail saying a warrant will be issued for your arrest… this is not the IRS.”
Another red flag to families that someone is trying to shake you down: if they ask for payment via a gift card, wire transfer or cryptocurrency.
Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails or websites posing as legitimate sites, and do not share any personal information because it could lead to theft, tax fraud, and identity theft. The IRS says there are over 50 sites pretending to be part of the American rescue plan including the child tax credit. They are trying to shut each of them down but asks families to be vigilant and not go to fraudulent sites. The major clue that you may be on a fraudulent site is that the site does not end in .gov, which is a red flag.
More importantly, most eligible parents will already have had a deposit hit their bank account without taking any action whatsoever. The IRS is using bank information already on file from 2019 and 2020 tax returns to make the automatic deposits. No additional action is necessary.
In a few cases, eligible families may need to act by contacting the IRS directly. For those who are not required to file tax returns, officials say to go to this actual IRS page to provide basic information for future payments, which arrive on the 15th of every month.