IRS warns consumers of possible scams relating to Hurricane Sandy relief
The Internal Revenue Service has issued a consumer alert about possible scams taking place in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Following major disasters, it’s common for scam artists to impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media or email, or in-person solicitations.
The IRS cautions both hurricane victims and 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, which allows people to find legitimate, qualified charities to which donations may be tax deductible. Legitimate charities may also be found at fema.gov.
In addition, citizens should not give out personal financial information such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords. They should also contribute by check or credit card to provide documentation of the gift.
Hurricane victims should call the IRS toll-free disaster assistance telephone number, 1-866-562-5227, with specific questions about tax relief or disaster-related tax issues.
Taxpayers suspecting disaster-related frauds should go to 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.”