Fake Charities: Dirty Dozen Tax Scams 2016

Posted on Feb 16, 2016 in San Diego Lawyer, Tax Season, Taxes | Comments Off on Fake Charities: Dirty Dozen Tax Scams 2016

Fake Charities: Dirty Dozen Tax Scams 2016

Did you know that not all charities are truly charitable? Its a terrible and twisted concept but its reality. There are groups that pretend to be charitable, drawing you in and encouraging you to donate money and give your personal information with plans to scam you. The IRS recently warned tax payers to be aware of such fake charities in its recent update about its Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for the 2016 filing season.

“Fake charities set up by scam artists to steal your money or personal information are a recurring problem,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers should take the time to research organizations before giving their hard-earned money.”

fake charitiesThe list of the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams is released by the IRS each year and although the tax scams can happen at any time of the year, they are especially prevalent during tax season, from January through April. Individuals and groups who are guilty of tax scams like posing as fake charities or stealing identities (read about it here) are subject to serious penalties and even criminal prosecution in some cases. IRS Criminal Investigation works with the Department of Justice to make sure that criminals are caught, scams are stopped and tax payers are protected.

The IRS offers these tips to help identify and avoid fake charities:

  • Be Wary of Names
    • 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. IRS.gov has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check, which allows people to find legitimate, qualified charities to which donations may be tax-deductible. Legitimate charities will provide their Employer Identification Numbers (EIN), if requested, which can be used to verify their legitimacy through EO Select Check. It is advisable to double check using a charity’s EIN.
  • Protect Your Information
    • Don’t give out personal financial information, such as Social Security numbers or passwords to anyone who solicits a contribution from you. Scam artists may use this information to steal your identity and money. People use credit card numbers to make legitimate donations but please be very careful when you are speaking with someone who has called you and you have not yet confirmed they are calling from a legitimate charity.
  • Don’t Send or Give Cash
    • 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.  (source)

The IRS also warns about fake charities that surface following big natural disasters. Individuals or groups take advantage of the compassionate feelings of most tax payers after a natural disaster and contact people in an attempt gather personal and financial information and/or collect money from people who are trying to do good.

Be sure to protect yourself this tax season, and always, by double checking your charities before donating or giving personal information.

 

 

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