Watch Out for Scams, IRS Says

The Internal Revenue Service is issuing a warning about possible fake charity scams emerging due to Hurricane Harvey and they are encouraging taxpayers to seek out recognized charitable groups for their donations.

While there has been an enormous wave of support across the country for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, people should be aware of criminals who look to take advantage of this generosity by impersonating charities to get money or private information from well-meaning taxpayers.

Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, e-mail or in-person solicitations.

In the wake of a disaster, Fred Elsberry with the Better Business Bureau in Atlanta offers the some tips to help you decide where to direct donations to assist victims.

Elsberry said the best way to help victims of Hurricane Harvey to give to a charitable organization you know is reputable.

Elsberry said another red flag is if an organization claims 100% of the donations they receive will go towards relief efforts.

He says most groups allocate a percentage of your donation to operating expenses.

Also, it’s a good idea to find out if the group you’re giving to is actually on the scene helping those in need.

Now if you get a call from someone claiming to be with a legitimate charity asking you for money, Elsberry said don’t allow yourself to be pressured into donating over the phone.

For more tips, advice and information on charities and charitable giving, you can visit the Better Business Bureau’s new “Wise Giving Alliance” Web site at