IRS ‘Stimulus Check’ Bad News: Be on Lookout for Child Tax Credit Scams | #phishing | #scams


As the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department gear up to issue millions of child tax credit payments from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the agencies are now warning Americans about potential scams regarding these recurring monthly checks.

They asserted that eligible parents need to be on guard especially if they have to update their bank account information. These people should head directly to the IRS.gov website and refrain from clicking on links that are received by email, text, or phone.

These warnings come as the IRS earlier this week announced its “Dirty Dozen” list for tax scams for this year.

“We continue to see scam artists use the pandemic to steal money and information from honest taxpayers in a time of crisis,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement.

“We provide this list to alert taxpayers about common scams that fraudsters use against their victims. At the IRS, we are dedicated to stopping these criminals, but it’s up to all of us to remain vigilant to protect ourselves and our families,” he continued.

The “Dirty Dozen” list was separated into four groups: pandemic-related scams like stimulus check theft, personal information cons including phishing, scams that target unsuspecting victims like fake charities and senior/immigrant fraud, and schemes that persuade taxpayers into unscrupulous actions.

“The IRS urges all taxpayers to be on guard, especially during the pandemic, not only for themselves, but also for other people in their lives,” the agency says.

As for the stimulus payments that are currently being rolled out, the agency said that it “won’t initiate contact by phone, email, text or social media asking for Social Security numbers or other personal or financial information related to Economic Impact Payments.”

In order to help eligible parents get the information they need regarding the child tax credits and to make appropriate changes, the IRS already has launched three tools.

The Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant, which is available on IRS.gov, allows parents to answer a series of questions regarding themselves and their family members that will determine whether they indeed qualify for the credits.

Another tool that is highly useful is the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, which will help parents “unenroll or opt out from receiving the monthly payments so they can receive a lump sum when they file their tax return next year.”

The IRS also recently announced that parents can update their bank account information on there as well.

“The Update Portal is a key piece among the three new tools now available on IRS.gov to help families understand, register for and monitor these payments. We will be working across the nation with partner groups to share information and help eligible people receive the advance payments,” Rettig said in a statement.

For those who haven’t filed their federal tax returns yet, make sure to use the Non-filer Sign-up Tool. The information entered in this portal will assist the IRS promptly issue the credits.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn. This article is being republished due to reader interest.

Image: Reuters.



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