Monday, November 18, 2013

Tips for Donating to Charity Safely

It is common for scam artists to impersonate charities to get money or private information from taxpayers. The IRS has offered a number of tips for taxpayers to follow in making donations:

1. Donate to recognized charities to help disaster victims. Scammers operating bogus charities may contact people by telephone, social media, email or in-person to solicit money or financial information.

2. Scammers often send e-mail that steers the recipient to bogus websites that appear to be affiliated with legitimate charitable causes.

3. Be wary of charities with names that are similar to nationally known organizations. Fraudulent sites frequently mimic the sites of, or use names similar to, legitimate charities to persuade people to send money or provide personal financial information.

4. Consider using the search feature, "Exempt Organizations Select Check," on the IRS website, which allows people to find legitimate, qualified charities to which donations may be tax-deductible.

5. 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. This information may be used by scam artists to steal your identity and money.

6. 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.

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