Beware: Holiday Relief Scams - SanTanValley.com

Beware: Holiday Relief Scams

Former Pinal County Supervisor and current State  Parks Director Bryan  Martyn.
Beware: Holiday Relief Scams

During the holiday season, many people are moved to assist  those who have suffered through a natural disaster.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 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, e-mail or inperson 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. Legitimate charities may also be found on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website at fema.gov.
  • 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 from you.
  • Don’t give or send cash.

For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation Check out charity before sending money of the gift.

Taxpayers suspecting disaster-related frauds should visit 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.”

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