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IRS Warns Consumers of Possible Scams Relating to Relief of Typhoon Victims

The Internal Revenue Service this week issued a consumer alert about possible scams taking place in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.  Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the central Philippines, bringing strong winds and heavy rains that have resulted in flooding, landslides, and widespread damage, loss of life  and suffering.

Following major disasters, it is 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, email or in-person solicitations.  Additionally, scammers often send e-mail that steers the recipient to bogus websites that appear to be affiliated with legitimate charitable causes.

People wishing to make disaster-related charitable donations should be careful 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 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. Scam artists may use this information to steal your identity and money.
  • 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.

If you suspect a disaster-related fraud,  visit IRS.gov and search for the keywords Report Phishing. If you have any additional questions or are concerned that your identity may be compromised, please contact us at 847-267-9600.

This publication is distributed with the understanding that the author, publisher and distributor are not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters, and accordingly assume no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. ©2014  Pursuant to Internal Revenue Service Circular No. 230, be advised that the information contained herein was not intended or written to be used and cannot be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding any Internal Revenue Code penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. It was written with the intent of disseminating general information related to the transaction(s) or matter(s) addressed herein.