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The IRS Won't Be Calling, Emailing Or Texting. Don't Fall For Child Tax Credit Scams

Updated August 13, 2021 at 11:15 AM ET

The second of the monthly installments of child tax credit payments went out Friday — and it's a good time to remind you that scammers are targeting families eligible for this credit. The following piece first published in July.

It's been just days since the IRS began sending out child tax credit payments — meaning tens of millions of families have started to receive up to $300 per child — and already the agency is warning American families about scammers trying to steal their money.

"Be alert to criminals who ask you, by phone, email, text – or even on social media, to verify your information," the IRS cautioned on Wednesday.

Such contacts are fake and should be ignored or reported.

Officials also reminded recipients of the monthly installments that the IRS never uses any of those methods to request personal or financial information.

"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."

Another red flag that someone is trying to shake you down: if they ask for payment via a gift card, wire transfer or cryptocurrency.

Clicking on links in unsolicited emails or websites posing as legitimate sites, and offering up any information could lead to theft, tax fraud, and identity theft.

Few eligible families need to take action

In fact, most eligible parents will already have had a deposit hit their bank account without taking any action whatsoever. The IRS is using bank information already on file from 2019 and 2020 tax returns to make the automatic deposits. No additional action is necessary.

However, for those who are not required to file tax returns, officials say to go to this actual IRS page to provide basic information for future payments, which arrive on the 15th of every month.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.