AAFCPAs would like to make clients aware of a recent consumer alert issued by the IRS warning taxpayers about the possible emergence of fake charity scams in the wake of the recent mass-murder in Orlando. The agency is encouraging donors to seek out recognized charitable groups and to use the IRS website to verify the status of charitable organizations. Bogus websites are a favorite tool of scammers, the agency said. “These sites frequently mimic the sites of, or use names similar to, legitimate charities, or claim to be affiliated with legitimate charities in order to persuade people to send money or provide personal financial information that can be used to steal identities or financial resources,” the IRS said.
AAFCPAs reminds clients that identity thieves work year-round, but often take advantage of emotional appeals or disasters in the news. Acts of mass murder, terrorism, and natural disasters provide especially lucrative opportunities for scammers. Please proceed cautiously and do your research to avoid fraudsters who may try to take advantage of your generosity.
Before you make a donation, these resources can help:
- Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance (Give.org)
- Charity Navigator
- Charity Watch
- IRS Search for Tax Exempt Organizations
- National Association of State Charity Officials
Combat Tax-Related Identity Theft
Click here to access the IRS’ Taxpayers Guide to Identity Theft, which outlines new safeguards and actions that the government has put in place to combat identity theft.
If your Social Security number has been compromised and your efiled return was rejected as a duplicate or IRS has informed you that you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft, AAFCPAs advises that you submit a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Then call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit’s toll-free number: (800) 908-4490.
The devastating events in Florida once again bring to light that all taxpayers must constantly be vigilant and cautious of charity & tax scams, and other identity theft risks.
Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this terrible tragedy.