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IRS warns against charity scams during the holiday season

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IRS warns against charity scams during the holiday season. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) warns the public to be alert to charity scams that may take advantage of the holiday spirit of generosity. During these deceptive practices, criminals attempt to acquire both funds and personal information, posing a significant risk of identity theft.

Protecting Yourself: IRS Guidelines for Charity Fraud Prevention

In order to avoid these scams, the IRS recommends exercising diligence before making charitable contributions and avoiding charities that pressure donors for immediate payment. For verifying the legitimacy of a charity, confirming its eligibility for tax-deductible donations, and obtaining information about the organization’s tax-exempt status and filings, the IRS encourages the use of its Tax-Exempt Organization Search (TEOS) tool.

Additional Resources for Verifying Charity Credibility

Additionally, the Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator, and Charity Watch are reliable resources for confirming a charity’s credibility. In addition to providing enhanced protection, the IRS recommends consulting the FBI’s guidance on charity and disaster fraud. Vigilance is key to ensuring charitable efforts benefit legitimate organizations.

Tips to Defend Against Charity Scams

The IRS provides the following tips to help individuals protect themselves from charity scams, including phishing emails, fake websites, and caller ID spoofing.

  • Verify: A charity name, website, and mailing address should always be verified. The TEOS tool is a reliable source for verifying the status of a charity.
  • Avoid Pressure: You should exercise caution if pressured to donate immediately. Legitimate charities are always accepting donations.
  • Be Cautious with Personal Information: Guard personal details carefully, as scammers often seek this information.
  • Use Safe Payment Methods: Check the legitimacy of charities before donating via gift cards or wire transfers. If necessary, use secure payment methods such as credit cards or checks.
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Important Reminder for Tax-Deductible Contributions

Donations to tax-exempt organizations and itemizing deductions are the only ways to deduct charitable contributions. Staying vigilant is key to protecting oneself and ensuring that donations are properly credited.

Conclusion

Staying vigilant and following the IRS guidelines are paramount to safeguarding against holiday charity scams. By verifying charities, avoiding pressure, protecting personal information, and using secure payment methods, individuals can ensure their contributions make a genuine difference while minimizing the risk of fraud.

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