Bogus charitable organizations
The tax code offers benefits for philanthropic taxpayers. It does not, however, reward those who set up improper nonprofit groups or illegally donate to them.
Unfortunately, when bad things happen, bad people take advantage, tax and otherwise. That's why when there are significant natural disasters, con artists come out in droves.
They impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. And they use a variety of tactics.
Some scammers operating bogus charities may contact people by telephone or email to solicit money or financial information. They may even directly contact disaster victims and claim to be working for or on behalf of the IRS to help the victims file casualty loss claims and get tax refunds.
They may attempt to get personal financial information or Social Security numbers that can be used to steal the victims' identities or financial resources. Bogus websites may solicit funds for disaster victims.