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Taxpayers Urged to Verify Charity Authenticity Before Donating to Avoid Scams

In light of the recent wave of global tragedies and natural disasters, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a stern caution to the public, urging them to exercise vigilance when donating to charitable causes. Criminals, disguising themselves as legitimate charities, are preying on the compassionate instincts of individuals, soliciting funds under false pretenses. The IRS Commissioner, Danny Werfel, emphasized the importance of verifying charities before contributing, reminding the public that donations to fake charities are non-deductible on tax returns.

Commissioner Werfel stated, “We all want to help innocent victims and their families. However, criminals take advantage of people’s kindness during times of crisis. It’s crucial not to succumb to pressure and to verify the authenticity of the charity you’re donating to.”

To assist potential donors in making informed decisions, the IRS recommends using the Tax-Exempt Organization Search (TEOS) tool available on Through TEOS, individuals can:

  • Verify the legitimacy of a charity
  • Confirm its eligibility to receive tax-deductible contributions
  • Access information about an organization’s tax-exempt status and filings

The IRS further cautioned against the common tactics employed by fake charities, such as using email, fake websites, or spoofed caller IDs to deceive donors. These criminals often target vulnerable groups, including seniors and individuals with limited English proficiency. To safeguard against scams, the IRS provided the following tips:

  • Verify First: Ask for the charity’s name, website, and mailing address. Use TEOS to confirm the organization’s legitimacy independently.
  • Don’t Give in to Pressure: Legitimate charities do not rush donors into immediate payments. Take your time to verify before giving.
  • Limit Personal Information: Treat personal information like cash and refrain from sharing it freely.
  • Beware of Payment Requests: Avoid charities requesting donations through gift cards or wiring money. Instead, use secure methods such as credit cards or checks after confirming the charity’s authenticity.

It’s crucial to note that taxpayers can only claim deductions for donations if they go to qualified tax-exempt organizations recognized by the IRS. The IRS also encouraged anyone encountering suspicious charities to consult the FBI’s resources on Charity and Disaster Fraud.

Amidst the global outpouring of support, the IRS remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting donors from falling victim to heartless scams, ensuring that aid reaches those genuinely in need during these challenging times.

Source (IRS News).