IRS Reports New Charity Scam in Wake of Typhoon Haiyan

A new scam has been reported by the Internal Revenue Service in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan that devastated the Philippines on Nov. 8. A press release from the IRS said that following major disasters, it is common for scam artists to impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, email or in-person solicitations.

The IRS cautions people wishing to make disaster-related charitable donations to avoid scam artists by donating to recognized charities, exercising caution when dealing with charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. The IRS website at has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check, through which people may find legitimate, qualified charities; donations to these charities may be tax-deductible. Legitimate charities may also be found on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website at

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. Scam artists may use this information 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.

Bogus websites may solicit funds for disaster victims. Such 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 that can be used to steal identities or financial resources. Additionally, scammers often send e-mail that steers the recipient to bogus websites that appear to be affiliated with legitimate charitable causes.