IRS warns of Typhoon Haiyan donation scams - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

IRS warns of Typhoon Haiyan donation scams

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Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSFA) -

The Internal Revenue Service is issuing a consumer alert regarding possible scams taking place in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, a devastating storm that hit the Philippines on November 8 causing widespread damage and thousands of fatalities.

The IRS says it is common, following major disasters, for scam artists to take advantage of people who want to help those in need. The scammers typically impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers.

The schemes may happen by telephone, social media, email or in-person.

 

The IRS cautions people wishing to make disaster-related charitable donations to avoid scam artists by following these tips:

  • To help disaster victims, donate to recognized charities.

  • Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Some phony charities use names or websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations. The IRS website at IRS.gov has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check, through which people may find legitimate, qualified charities; donations to these charities may be tax-deductible. Legitimate charities may also be found on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website at fema.gov.

  • Don't give out personal financial information — such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords — to anyone who solicits a contribution from you. Scam artists may use this information to steal your identity and money.

  • Don't give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the gift.

  • If you plan to make a contribution for which you would like to claim a deduction, see IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, to read about the kinds of organizations that can receive deductible contributions.

Bogus websites may solicit funds for disaster victims. Such fraudulent sites frequently mimic the sites of, or use names similar to, legitimate charities, or claim to be affiliated with legitimate charities in order to persuade members of the public to send money or provide personal financial information that can be used to steal identities or financial resources.

If you suspect a disaster-related fraud scheme, visit IRS.gov and search for the keywords "Report Phishing."

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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