INDIANAPOLIS — The Internal Revenue Service has a warning out about scammers using child tax credit payments as a way to steal your money or your identity.
In this scam, typically the individual reaches out to you by phone, email, text or social media to verify your information you can get advance child tax credit money.
“There are three big red flags. The first is, the IRS is never going to threaten you,” said Luis Garcia, a spokesperson with the IRS. “The second one is the IRS is never going to demand immediate payment. And lastly, the IRS is never going to tell you have to pay by this particular payment method like iTunes cards or gift cards of anything like that.”
The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.
“When it comes to phone calls, remember the IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent or threatening messages,” a statement from the IRS said. “For example, if you get a voice mail saying a warrant will be issued for your arrest, this is not the IRS.”
If you are eligible for advance payments of the child tax credit, the IRS will use information from your 2019 or 2020 tax return to automatically enroll you for advance payments.
You do not need to take any additional action to get advance payments of the child tax credit, Garcia said.
Garcia said the IRS may call you, but most of the time, they will contact you through the mail.
“You’re going to get a letter and it’s going to explain exactly what it is, if you have a bill due or you have money coming,” Garcia said.
If you aren't required to file a tax return and haven't given the IRS your information, you can go to IRS.gov to provide basic information for the child tax credit.
“We are always concerned about these types of scams because it’s not just that they’re stealing from people but they’re also making it so that people are not trusting the system we are operating in,” said Garcia. “We are reaching out to people and they’re saying ‘oh no, you’re not really the IRS’. It can cause all kinds of problems for us.”
Garcia said we all pay for this problem.
“If they’re not taking the money from you, they’re taking your identity and they’re filing false tax returns,” Garcia said. “That affects all of us. When it goes to these scammers we all have to pay more.
Have you been a victim of a scam? Contact WRTV Investigates at email@example.com.