IRS warns of child tax credit scams trying to take parents’ payments

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The Internal Revenue Service says if you’re eligible for the child tax credit, scammers could be trying to steal your money.

Cyber criminals are using delayed payments to take advantage of parents waiting for their money by calling and offering to sign them up for a fake IRS program to speed up payments. The thieves usually leave pre-recorded, urgent or threatening messages.

Some will also contact by email or text, trying to get you to fill out a form or even pay a fee so you can get your payments. These scammers just want access to your personal information, bank account details or even your tax credit payment itself.

Tyler Hatcher with the IRS said the agency would never call or text, asking you to verify personal or financial information.

“Many people will think, ‘Well I haven’t seen my payment yet,’ and they get a phone call. ‘Yeah, I’ll give you my information,’ so we’re encouraging people not to do that,” Hatcher said.

If you are eligible for the advance child tax credit, the IRS uses your information from your 2019 or 2020 tax return. You won’t need to take any further action as long as you’ve filed your taxes.

You can check the IRS child tax credit portal to verify eligibility and payment method. Families can also opt out of monthly payments and get one lump sum in the spring at that site.

The benefit provides a total of up to $3,600 a year for each child under the age of 6 and up to $3,000 for children between the ages of 6 and 17.

If you do get communication from the IRS for other reasons unrelated to the tax credit, it will typically be by mail with a letter.

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