New Scams Target Natural Disaster Relief

Sep 19, 2018Opinions1 comment

It’s a wonderful reminder of how gracious people can be in a world so bogged down with negativity; thousands of people show their generosity when disasters like Hurricane Florence strike.  The effort to give and support victims of the hurricane is amazing, but it also creates a breeding ground for scammers.  The IRS is now warning of fraudulent schemes from telephone calls, social media, e-mails, or even in person contact.  According to the IRS, some of the tactics they use are:

  • Impersonating charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers.
  • Creating bogus websites use names similar to legitimate charities to trick people to send money or provide personal financial information.
  • Claiming to work for or on behalf of the IRS to help victims file casualty loss claims and get tax refunds.
  • Operating bogus charities to solicit money or financial information by telephone or email.

In IRS Newswire issue IR-2018-188, the IRS explains how you can help legitimately:

Help for disaster victims
Comprehensive information on disaster-related tax issues, including provisions for tax relief, can be found on the disaster relief page on In the case of a federally declared disaster, affected taxpayers may also call the IRS Special Services Help Line, 866-562-5227, with disaster-related tax questions. Details on available relief can be found on the disaster relief page on

Donate to real charities
To help taxpayers donate to legitimate charities, the IRS website,, has a search feature, Tax Exempt Organization Search, that helps users find or verify qualified charities. Donations to these charities may be tax-deductible.

  • Contribute by check or credit card. Never give or send cash.
  • 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.

Taxpayers suspecting fraud by email should visit and search for the keywords “Report Phishing.” More information about tax scams and schemes may be found at using the keywords “scams and schemes.”

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