In the wake of Hurricane Florence, the Internal Revenue Service wants taxpayers to be aware of criminals and scammers who try to take advantage of those who want to help victims of major disasters.
Fraudulent schemes normally start with unsolicited contact by telephone, social media, e-mail or in-person using a variety of tactics.
• Some impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers.
• Bogus websites use names similar to legitimate charities to trick people to send money or provide personal financial information.
• They claim to be working for or on behalf of the IRS to help victims file casualty loss claims and get tax refunds.
• Others operate bogus charities and solicit money or financial information by telephone or email.
Help for disaster victims
Information on disaster-related tax issues, including provisions for tax relief, can be found on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov. In the case of a federally declared disaster, affected taxpayers may also call the IRS Special Services Help Line, 866-562-5227, with disaster-related tax questions. Details can be found on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.
Tax Exempt Organization Search helps users find or verify qualified charities. Donations to these charities may be tax-deductible.
Things to Remember:
• Contribute by check or credit card. Never give or send cash.
• 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.