• James D. Lynch

Fake charities make 2018 ‘Dirty Dozen’ list

The Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers against scam groups masquerading as charitable organizations, luring people to make donations to groups or causes that don't actually qualify for a tax deduction.


These ‘fake’ charities attempt to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors, using a charitable reason and a tax deduction as bait for taxpayers.


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.


IRS.gov has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check (https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/exempt-organizations-select-check), that allows people to find legitimate, qualified charities to which donations may be tax-deductible.


Legitimate charities will provide their Employer Identification Number (EIN), if requested, which can be used to verify their legitimacy through the IRS Select Check.


Don’t give out personal financial information, such as Social Security numbers or passwords, to anyone who solicits a contribution. Scam artists may use this information to steal identities and money from victims.


Be cautious when disclosing credit card numbers to those seeking a donation. Confirm that those soliciting a donation are calling from a legitimate charity.


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 donation.