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IRS warns consumers of scams related to Typhoon Haiyan relief

November 18, 2013

IRS has cautioned those wishing to make charitable contributions to aid the victims of Typhoon Haiyan—which wreaked wide-spread damage in the Philippines—to avoid the scams that often follow major disasters. Noting that it is common for scam artists to impersonate charities to get money or private information from taxpayers, IRS offered a number of tips for taxpayers to follow in making donations.

Facts. On Nov. 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan—known as Yolanda in the Philippines—made landfall in the central Philippines, bringing strong winds and heavy rains that have resulted in flooding, landslides, and widespread damage.

Cautioned to be wary. IRS warns people wishing to make disaster-related charitable donations to avoid scam artists by following some simple tips:


…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. Scammers often send e-mail that steers the recipient to bogus websites that appear to be affiliated with legitimate charitable causes.
…Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Fraudulent 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 members of the public to send money or provide personal financial information. 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. Legitimate charities can also be found on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website.
…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.
…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.
…Donations to qualified charities may be tax-deductible. If you plan to make a contribution for which you would like to claim a deduction, see IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, to find out about the kinds of organizations that can receive deductible contributions.


Taxpayers suspecting disaster-related frauds should go to the IRS website and search for the keywords “Report Phishing.” More information about tax scams and schemes can be found at the IRS website by using the keywords “scams and schemes.”