By Sandy Botkin, Special forUSDR
A long-standing dirty tax scam is the impersonation of charitable organizations. Following major disasters, it is very common for scam artists to impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned people. Usually they contact you by telephone or e-mail to solicit money or financial information. They might even contact disaster victims directly and claim to be working for the charity in order to “help” them file a casualty loss and get a tax refund. They will also use bogus Web sites. Be wary of charities that are similar or familiar to known organizations. What should you do in order to avoid being scammed?
1. IRS.gov Web site has a search function for valid charities for which donations may be tax deductible.
2. NEVER give out personal information, such as Social Security numbers or even credit card and bank numbers to anyone who solicits a contribution from you. Scam artists may use this information to steal youridentity.
3. Don’t send or give cash… period. For security and tax records, using a check or credit card provides documentation of the gift, which you will need in order to take adeduction.