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IRS Warns About An Influx Of Fake Charities During The Holiday Season

This holiday season may look and feel much more normal than last year. That’s one thing to be thankful for. Yet caution is advised on another front. Scammers are out to defraud the unsuspecting by setting up bogus charities to take advantage of not only COVID-19, but also other disasters that have struck so many hard this year. The wildfires out west, the hurricanes in the south and northeast. This year when charitable organizations need all the help they can get, they are often losing donations because individuals are being fooled into giving to frauds.

The IRS has joined forces with an international group to help warn about the activities that these criminals engage in and hopes to forewarn the general public. For individuals, the big thing about getting scammed by a bogus charity is that it makes your contribution null and void when you want a deduction at tax time. The only way you can claim a tax deduction is by giving to a qualified charity.

The IRS Published An Official Warning About Fake Charities

When the IRS publishes an official warning, you know things are bad. They recently posted just such a warning in which they advise taxpayers to be on the lookout for scammers who set up fake organizations to take advantage of the public's generosity. They reiterate what I mentioned above that these criminals especially take advantage of tragedies and disasters, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The IRS also cautions that scams requesting donations for disaster relief efforts over the phone are especially common. Taxpayers should always check out a charity before they donate, and they should not feel pressured to give immediately.

I’m providing the tips below that the IRS published on that you’ll want to keep in mind.

  • Individuals should never let any caller pressure them. A legitimate charity will be happy to get a donation at any time, so there's no rush. Donors are encouraged to take time to do the research.

  • Potential donors should ask the fundraiser for the charity's exact name, web address and mailing address, so it can be confirmed later. Some dishonest telemarketers use names that sound like large well-known charities to confuse people.

  • Be careful how a donation is paid. Donors should not work with charities that ask them to pay by giving numbers from a gift card or by wiring money. That's how scammers ask people to pay. It's safest to pay by credit card or check — and only after having done some research on the charity.

Stay Akert And Enjoy The Holidays

You may be looking forward to celebrating the holidays with loved ones you weren’t able to be with last year. While we are all feeling a little bit safer this year, there is still good reason for exercising good sense. So, please be careful. Stay safe and healthy. And, if you are donating to charitable organizations, do your due diligence. Make sure they are qualified. Heaven knows it’s been a tough couple of years for these organizations and giving feels so good.

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