By Emily Wu, Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
Many people have gotten their advance Child Tax Credit payments this year, but scammers are taking advantage of this new program to try to trick you out of money or information. They’re pretending to be the IRS, contacting people by phone, text, email, and social media — and sending people to official-looking websites that look just like the IRS.
Before you respond to anyone who reaches out to you, here are a few things to know about the IRS and the Child Tax Credit:
- Check your eligibility for the tax credit, if you haven’t gotten any advance payment this year, and sign up by following the IRS’ instructions.
- The IRS used information from filed tax returns to automatically sign people up for the Child Tax Credit. If you aren’t getting payments automatically, it might be because you didn’t file a tax return for 2019 or 2020. You’ll need to sign up for these payments if you didn’t file.
- The IRS (and other government agencies) will never text, email, or contact you on social media asking for your personal or financial information. But scammers will.
- The IRS does not use robocalls and will not call about something urgent or threatening. The IRS will also not call to ask taxpayers to give or verify financial information to get your Child Tax Credit payments. Anyone who does is a scammer.
- The IRS will never ask for a payment by gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency. The IRS and other government agencies will also never ask you to pay to get financial help. You know who does? Scammers.
If you have questions, start at irs.gov to get answers. And if someone says they’re from the IRS and contacts you about the Child Tax Credit, report it to the IRS and ReportFraud.ftc.gov. If you think a scammer has any of your personal or financial information, visit IdentityTheft.gov to get a recovery plan.