The Internal Revenue Service has issued an official warning about charity scams in relation to the recent South Carolina flooding. “When making donations to assist flood victims in South Carolina and elsewhere, taxpayers should take steps to ensure their hard-earned money goes to legitimate and currently eligible charities,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “IRS.gov has the tools taxpayers need to check out the status of charitable organizations.” Unfortunately, this is not the first time that we’ve seen these type of scams occur during tragedies. We’ve seen them occur after the Haitian earthquake, Hurricane Isaac, and Super Storm Sandy.
The IRS is sharing tips for people who wish to help the flood victims through charitable contributions.
- Beware of charities with names that are similar to nationally known organizations. These phony charities usually have names that mimic legitimate charities.
- Before donating, use the IRS.gov search engine, Exempt Organizations Select Check, to ensure that the charity that you are contributing to is a reputable and qualified charity.
- If you have received emails soliciting disaster related contributions which you believe to be fraud, be sure to visit IRS.gov and follow the Report Phishing link to report the possible fraud.
- Do not give out personal information such as your social security number, credit card numbers, and bank account numbers.
- Do not donate cash. It’s hard to track cash for tax purposes and more difficult to confirm that you’re giving to a legitimate organization if you’re just handing over cash to solicitor on your doorstep.