Cheating donors and
victims of natural disasters sound awful, but there are unscrupulous
individuals and groups that do exactly that. The IRS has issued a warning to
taxpayers to stay alert of bogus charity scams. Most bogus charities become
active or mushroom after a major natural disaster such as the recent typhoon in
As scammers expect
many people to want to contribute to the relief of those affected, they use
false trusts and organizations to get cash and/or merchandise. Many gain access
to personal information of taxpayers such as the Social Security Number to file
false tax return and pocket large refunds.
Some of the methods
charity scammers use to cheat donors include:
to be a real charity using fake ID, forms and receipts
names similar to that of legitimate charities
identity theft by forming fake web pages that look like a real charity site
people over the phone to donate or share personal information
Many of the
scammers are criminals that see a natural disaster as an opportunity to make
money by asking for donations using fake identities.
Before donating to
a charity, it is important to check if the charity is qualified. To know which
charities are qualified, the Exempt Organizations Select Check tool on the IRS website can be used. Another
advantage of making contributions to qualified charities is that the
contributions made are tax deductible.
The safest method
to stay secure from scammers is not to share any information, especially financial
and personal information such as bank account numbers, personal identification
numbers, SSN and tax filing status, if the contact was initiated by the
charitable trust. To avoid falling prey to charity scams, only contact
charities that you are certain are legitimate.
Labels: Identity Theft, IRS, Tax News, Tax Scams, Taxpayers