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IRS Warns Taxpayers About Child Tax Credit Scams

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J. DAVID AKE
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ASSOCIATED PRESS

The IRS wants taxpayers to know that scammers are trying to get their private information using tactics surrounding the recently expanded child tax credits.

Scammers are trying to pose as IRS agents or contractors helping with “tax credit applications” to get sensitive information, said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent Lauren Kocinski. They are targeting people using phone calls, emails, text messages and social media.

“What we're seeing is that with any new government program aimed at helping taxpayers, criminals are looking for ways to essentially cash in,” Kocinski said.

The child tax credit is dispersed to people that are eligible automatically if they filed their 2019 or 2020 tax payment. Therefore, anyone claiming otherwise and offering services is probably running a scam, Kocinski said.

 

“Any communication that's offering assistance with signing up for the child tax credit or speeding up the monthly payments, is likely a scam,” she said.

Additionally, any calls that include pre-recorded messages, demands for quick actions or include people that claim to be with the IRS, are also likely scams. The IRS will not call someone requesting personal information without previous contact by other means, or unless a person initiated contact with them, Kocinski said.

If someone recognizes a scammer is contacting them, Kocinski wants them to write down as much information as they can about the call, including phone number, given name and what was claimed, and report it using instructions at the IRS’ website.

Tristan Wood can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org or on Twitter at @TristanDWood.