The IRS has issued a warning about possible scams targeting consumers in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Those scams may be carried out by phone, social media, email or in-person solicitations.
The IRS offers the following tips to avoid getting taken:
1. To help disaster victims, donate to recognized charities and do your own research to ensure your money is going where intended.
2. Be wary of charities with names that are similar to nationally known organizations.
3. Some phony charities use names or websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations. One way to verify they are legitimate is to check the IRS’s online information on exempt organizations (go to www.irs.gov and use the Exempt Organizations Select Check search feature) or the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website.
4. 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. Scam artists may use this information to steal your identity and money.
5. Don’t give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the gift.
Call the IRS toll-free disaster assistance telephone number, 1-866-562-5227, if you are a hurricane victim with specific questions about tax relief or disaster related tax issues.