Beware of child tax credit payment scams

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Since the beginning of the pandemic, the FTC estimates Americans have lost nearly $500 million in COVID-related scams.

It's been just weeks since the IRS began sending out child tax credit payments to tens of millions of families. Now, the IRS has a warning, scammers are trying to dupe families to steal thousands in benefits.

The IRS says scammers are reaching out to families using emails, text messages, and social media, asking to verify information to receive the child tax credit payments. Cyber crooks are trying to get your bank account information to hack into your account.

Parents need to know the payments will be sent out automatically to the bank account you already have on file through your prior tax filing. You don't need to do anything.

If you haven't filed taxes, the IRS has created a new online tool that allows non-filers to report their information.

Also, thieves are also using pre-recorded or threatening messages warning about a lawsuit or arrest, requesting payment to start the credit payments. They are asking recipients to send fees via gift card, wire transfer, even crypto currency.

The big takeaway, remember the IRS will never contact you by email, text message, or social media channels to request personal information.

Also, the IRS will never reach out to you by phone. This is a telltale scam, plain and simple.

If anyone you don't know asks you to pay them using gift cards or wire transfers, it's a scam.

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