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IRS warns taxpayers about Child Tax Credit scams

The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division is warning taxpayers about Child Tax Credit-related scams, which criminals may use to steal money and personal information.

While millions of American families started receiving the advance Child Tax Credit payments earlier this month, criminals were already looking for innovative tactics to take advantage of unwitting victims, according to a press release. 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. 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. 

“As the country continues to  grapple with the financial fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers and criminals continue to evolve their efforts to steal the assistance the government provides, from those that need it the most,” said Acting Special Agent In Charge, Donald “Trey” Eakins, IRS Criminal Investigation, Chicago Field Office. “Be aware of those that try to steal the tax credit that you are entitled to, and if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Although scammers constantly come up with new schemes to try and catch taxpayers off-guard, there are simple ways to identify if it is truly the IRS reaching out.

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.

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