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Scammers using child tax credit to target victims

Posted at 1:17 PM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-12 20:53:40-04

TULSA, Okla. — An urgent warning from the IRS about the the much-anticipated advanced child tax credit payments starting this week.

High tech thieves are now using those payments to lure parents into becoming victims. Cybercriminals hiding behind keyboards are stepping up their attacks, targeting families waiting to get some much-needed cash from the feds, all in the form of monthly payments from the recently expanded advanced child tax credit.

Deposits or checks for $300 or $350 for every eligible child start later this month. The IRS warns people scammers may use these payments as bait.

It is too late for Shelley, who doesn't want us to use her last name.

She said, "We have six children at home. My husband and I are still struggling week to week, with barely enough money to survive. We really need that child tax money. So when I got a call asking me to verify our bank information to make sure we're enrolled, and so there won't be any delays in getting our deposits, I fell for it."

The crook cleaned out their checking account.

Luckily, she said because they're so cash-strapped there was only $200 in the account. Still, they need every nickel they can get.

If you're eligible for advanced child tax payments, the IRS will use information from your 2019 or 2020 tax return to automatically enroll for the payments. You don't need to take any additional action, no matter what a scammer may try to tell you.

If you aren't required to file a tax return and haven't given the IRS your information, go to IRS.gov to provide basic information for the Child Tax Credit.

Here's more information to help protect yourself as scammers work overtime to try to steal your money:

  • Remember, the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone, email, text messages, or social media.
  • When it comes to phone calls, the IRS does not leave pre-recorded, urgent, or threatening messages.
  • If you get a voicemail saying a warrant will be issued for your arrest, it did not come from the IRS.

To learn more about the advanced child tax credit, including who's eligible and how to provide information to the IRS, go to the IRS' website.

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