Friday, November 16, 2012

Electronic Tax Filing News Update: Hurricane Sandy Scams

The world we live in is cruel and opportunistic. As our economy sinks and more people are left without jobs and/or stable living, those people turn to crime to fill the financial gap. Even during times of natural disasters, criminals see other peoples' plight as a chance to cash in on the generosity of others.

Hurricane Sandy's effect on New York

Even though hurricane Sandy hit almost a month ago, the devastation she left behind still has people without power and homes. These people need help, and with all these cries for donations come a few wolves in sheep's clothing. has released an article about how to avoid giving your money to someone other than the victims of Sandy:

Here is an excerpt from the article, and I hope that it helps you choose the right place to give your much-needed donation!

The IRS cautions both hurricane victims and people wishing to make disaster-related charitable donations to avoid scam artists by following these tips:
  • To help disaster victims, donate to recognized charities.

  • Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Some phony charities use names or websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations. The IRS website at has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check, which allows people to find legitimate, qualified charities to which donations may be tax-deductible. Legitimate charities may also be found on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Web site 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.

  • Call the IRS toll-free disaster assistance telephone number, 1-866-562-5227, if you are a hurricane victim with specific questions about tax relief or disaster related tax issues.
Scam artists can use a variety of tactics. Some scammers operating bogus charities may contact people by telephone 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. 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 sound as though they are affiliated with legitimate charitable causes.

Taxpayers suspecting disaster-related frauds should visit and search for the keywords “Report Phishing.”

More information about tax scams and schemes may be found at using the keywords “scams and schemes.”

View my other articles about tax scams to continue your education!

With the economy in the shape it's in, people need all the money they make just to make end's meat. Don't let someone take advantage of you and your personal information to make their life easier by making your life harder. We at Online Tax Pros hope you can benefit from this information and have an awesome tax refund!

Please leave a comment if you know of any other tax scams or other articles relating to people taking advantage of the victims of hurricane Sandy that are not listed here so we can spread awareness! Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families.

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  1. Great post. I was doing research on IRS tax help when I came across this post. I am glad I did because I didn't know there was a hurricane Sandy scam going around. I live in New Jersey and was lucky enough not to get hit as bad as others did. It makes me so angry to hear that people are trying to scam people that are already in trouble. I will have to send this post around, thanks so much for sharing Greg.

  2. Glad it was some use to people who were hit. I give my sincerest condolences for your family and friends who were attacked by this tragedy...