While millions of American families started receiving the advance Child Tax Credit payments last week, criminals were looking for ways to take advantage of unaware victims.
Taxpayers should watch out for 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, according to the IRS.
When receiving unsolicited calls or messages, taxpayers shouldn’t provide personal information, click on links, or open attachments as this can lead to money loss, tax-related fraud, and identity theft.
Although scammers are always coming up with new schemes, there are ways to identify if it’s actually the IRS reaching out. The IRS:
- Doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail, text messages, or social media to ask for personal or financial information. This includes information related to the Child Tax Credit.
- Doesn’t leave pre-recorded, urgent, or threatening messages. Aggressive calls warning taxpayers about a lawsuit or arrest are fake.
- Won’t call taxpayers asking them to provide or verify financial information so they can obtain the monthly Child Tax Credit payments.
- Won’t ask for payment by a gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency.
For taxpayers eligible for advance payments of the Child Tax Credit, the IRS will use information from their 2020 or 2019 tax return to automatically enroll them for advance payments. Taxpayers don’t have to take additional action.
Taxpayers who aren’t required to file a tax return or who haven’t provided the IRS their information, can visit IRS.gov/childtaxcredit2021 to provide information for the Child Tax Credit.
To report suspicious IRS-related phishing and online scams, go to IRS.gov.