Child Tax Credit scams: IRS warns of thieves trying to steal money and personal information

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021
First child tax credit payments have been sent
Tens of millions of families have been sent the first payment of the expanded child tax credit, the IRS and the Treasury Department said.

Less than a week after child tax credit payments began hitting American families' bank accounts, the IRS is already warning about potential thieves looking to steal the money.

The agency said there are multiple tactics scammers are using through phone, e-mail, text message and social media to obtain recipients' personal information.

Families should know that any communication offering assistance to sign up for the Child Tax Credit or to speed up monthly payments is likely a scam.

If you do receive unsolicited calls or messages, don't provide personal information, click on links or open attachments.

Doing so could lead to money loss, tax-related fraud, identity theft, and because you'd have to deal with that, a huge headache.

While scammers may be trying to become more innovative (imagine if they'd put that energy into something productive!), there are still simple ways to know if the IRS is truly trying to contact 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.

RELATED: Child Tax Credit Update Portal | Internal Revenue Service

If you are eligible for advance payments of the Child Tax Credit, the IRS will use information from your 2020 or 2019 tax return to automatically enroll you for advance payments. That means you don't have to take any additional action.

However, taxpayers who are not required to file a tax return or who have not provided the IRS their information can go to this page on the agency's website to provide basic information for the Child Tax Credit.

You can also report suspicious phishing and online scams to the IRS.

The first payment of the expanded child tax credit was sent on July 15. The payments will be made on the 15th of each month, unless it falls on a weekend or holiday.

How much money you receive will depend on your household income and family size.

Use the calculator below to find out how much you may get as part of the new child tax credit. Your information will not be stored in any way.

Calculator not displaying correctly? Click here to view in a new window.

The video above is a previous report explaining what to know about the tax credit.