The IRS has issued a consumer alert about possible fake charity scams in the wake of last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando, Fla.
Scam artists commonly try to take advantage of generosity after such a headline tragedy by impersonating charities to get money or private information from taxpayers, the agency warns. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, e-mail or in-person solicitations.
The IRS cautions donors to follow these tips:
- Donate to recognized charities and beware of charities with names similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Some phony charities use names or Web sites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations. The IRS Exempt Organizations Select Check feature, helps find qualified charities. Donations to these charities may also be tax-deductible.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bogus Web sites may solicit funds for victims of this tragedy, frequently mimicking the sites of legitimate charities or claiming to be affiliated with legitimate charities.
- Scammers often send e-mails that steer recipients to bogus sites that appear to be affiliated with legitimate charitable causes.
Taxpayers suspecting fraud by e-mail should visit IRS.gov and search for the keywords “Report Phishing.” More information about tax scams and schemes may be found at IRS.gov using the keywords “scams and schemes.”
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