Beware of fake charity scams relating to hurricane assistance

October 30, 2017

Beware of fake charity scams relating to hurricane assistance

Comment  October 30, 2017 by IRS

While there’s been an enormous wave of support across the country for the victims of hurricanes, you should be aware of criminals who take advantage of this generosity by impersonating charities to get money or private information. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, email or in-person solicitations.

Criminals often send emails that steer people to bogus websites that appear to be affiliated with legitimate charitable causes. These sites frequently look like the sites of legitimate charities or use names similar to that charity. The fraudulent websites may even claim to be affiliated with legitimate charities to persuade people to send money or provide personal financial information that can be used to steal identities or financial resources.

You can avoid these scam artists by following these tips:

  • Only 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 charities. The IRS website at has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check, where you can 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 your 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 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.

If you suspect you’ve received a fraudulent email, visit and search for the keywords “Report Phishing.”

You can find more information about tax scams and schemes at using the keywords “scams and schemes.”

You can also find details about available relief on the disaster relief page.

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