How to protect yourself from Child Tax Credit scams

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The IRS says criminals may be after your money and your personal information.

CLEVELAND — EDITOR’S NOTE: The video in the player above is from a previous, unrelated story.

The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division is warning taxpayers about scams involving your Child Tax Credit payments. They say criminals may use those to steal your money and your personal information.

“While millions of American families started receiving the advance Child Tax Credit payments last week, criminals were already looking for innovative tactics to take advantage of unwitting victims,” the IRS said in a press release.

The IRS said taxpayers should be on the lookout for a variety of phone, e-mail, text message and social media scams that target families that received the credit. Any communication that offers assistance to sign up for the tax credit, or to give you advance monthly payments is likely a scam. When consumers receive unsolicited calls or messages, the IRS says you should never provide any personal information, click any links or open any attachments. Doing so could lead to money loss, tax-related fraud and/or identity theft.

“With the Child Tax Credit payments going out to taxpayers, criminals may look to cash in and find ways to defraud the public,” said Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS, Criminal Investigation. “Being aware of some of the tactics used by criminals to steal personal information and money can help prevent you from becoming a victim of their scheme.”

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There are some simple ways you can figure out if it is actually the IRS reaching out to you. 

• 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.

If you are eligible for the advance payments of the Child Tax Credit, the IRS used information from your 2020 or 2019 tax returns to automatically enroll you. Taxpayers who are not required to file a tax return or who have not provided the IRS their information, may visit IRS.gov/childtaxcredit2021 to provide basic information for the Child Tax Credit.

To report suspicious IRS-related phishing and online scams, visit IRS.gov.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The video in the player below is from a previous, unrelated story.


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