FBI warns about charity and disaster fraud – COVID-19

Among the FBI tips,

  • Give to established charities or groups whose work you know and trust.
  • Be aware of organizations with copycat names or names similar to reputable organizations.
  • Be wary of new organizations that claim to aid victims of recent high-profile disasters.

Here’s the FBI page on charity and disaster fraud.

The FBI has added COVID-19 to its fraud warnings, stating “Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both.” Here’s the FBI COVID-19 public service announcement. 

We created CharityCheck101.org so you can quickly check both identity and tax status

Avoid Fakes. Not every group that looks, sounds or feels like a charity is truly a charity. Fake “charities” often adopt names similar to legitimate charities, siphoning off dollars needed for good works. They’re specially active around crises, natural disasters and other big news items and causes. Do a charity check to make sure the group is truly a charity.

Confirm Identity. There are more than 1.7 million organizations recognized as tax-exempt by the IRS. Their names are often similar. Similar names easily produce confusion. More than 17,000 organizations have “Veteran” in their names. More than 1,300 have “Habitat for Humanity.” More than 80 have “American Cancer.” Do a charity check to make sure you are supporting exactly the group you think.

Confirm Tax Status. Do a charity check to find the organization’s tax status. Before you give, you should know the answers to these two questions –

  • Is the organization recognized as a charity or nonprofit by the IRS?
  • Will a donation be deductible as a charitable contribution?