IRS warns against Harvey charity scams

The Internal Revenue Service warned against potential charity scams asking for Tropical Storm Harvey Relief.

Scams could try to take advantage of people by telephone, social media, email, or through in-person solicitation.

“People should be aware of criminals who look to take advantage of this generosity by impersonating charities to get money or private information from well-meaning taxpayers,” IRS spokesman David A. Tucker II wrote in a release.

Be wary that scammers may try to make a charity look real by mimicking the names of legitimate organizations or claiming to be associated with legitimate charities.

If you suspect a charity is fraudulent, report them on the IRS website.

More tips to avoid a charity scam from the IRS:

- Be sure to 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, through which people may find qualified charities; donations to these charities may 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. Scam artists may use this information to steal a donor’s identity and money.

- Never give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the donation.

- Consult IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, available on IRS.gov. This free booklet describes the tax rules that apply to making legitimate tax-deductible donations. Among other things, it also provides complete details on what records to keep.

© 2017 KING-TV


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