(WASHINGTON) — Just one week after parents across the United States began to receive the first of new monthly child tax credit payments, they are being warned to look out for fraud.
The Internal Revenue Service issued a warning urging parents to be aware of criminals trying to steal their personal and financial information.
“Cyber criminals use every opportunity to try to scam people out of money,” the agency said in a statement Wednesday. “With the Advance Payments of the Child Tax Credit going out to eligible taxpayers, the IRS warns folks to be aware that thieves may use these payments as bait.”
Specifically, the IRS says parents should be on the lookout for phone calls, emails, text messages and messages on social media asking to verify information in order to receive the child tax credit payments.
Parents are also advised not to take the bait of any pre-recorded, urgent or threatening messages warning about a lawsuit or arrest, or any requests to make a payment using a gift card, wire transfer or crypto currency.
“Remember…the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information,” the agency said. “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.”
In most cases, parents do not need to do anything to receive the monthly payments.
The IRS is using information from people’s 2019 or 2020 tax return to automatically enroll them for advance payments.
For people who have not previously filed taxes, the IRS has created a new online tool that allows non-filers to report their information.
There is also help on the IRS website for people who do not have a bank account.
The IRS website also has more information on how to report tax scams.
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