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Photo credit: CA State Board of Equalizati​on
Photo credit: CA State Board of Equalizati​on

Board of Equalization Chairman, Jerome E. Horton, encourages potential charitable donors, interested in providing financial relief to the victims of the Boston Marathon and Texas fertilizer plant explosions, to beware of charity scams operating in the wake of these tragedies.

The fraudulent schemes involve a variety of tactics such as telephone solicitations as well as social media, email, and face–to–face requests for charitable donations. Individuals operating bogus charities operate by randomly contacting people by telephone to solicit money or financial information. Emails are also used to steer people to fraudulent websites to solicit funds, allegedly for the benefit of the affected victims. The fraudulent websites also mimic the sites or use names similar to legitimate charities.

Fraud also occurs when bogus organizations claim affiliation with legitimate charities to persuade members of the public to send money or provide personal financial information. Scammers are then able to use that information to steal the identities of the donors which is used to steal money that is intended for the victims.

Chairman Jerome Horton offers the following tips to help taxpayers who wish to make charitable donations to victims of the recent tragedies in Boston and Texas:

  • Donate to qualified charities. Use the Exempt Organizations Select Check tool at IRS.gov to find legitimately qualified charities. Only donations to qualified charitable organizations are tax–deductible. You can also find legitimate charities on the Federal Emergency Management Agency Web site at FEMA.gov.
  • Be wary of charities with similar names. Some phony charities use names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. They may use names or websites that sound or closely resemble those of legitimate organizations.
  • Don’t give out personal financial information. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card and bank account numbers and passwords to anyone who solicits a contribution. Scam artists use this information to steal your identity and your 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 donation.
  • Report suspected fraud. Taxpayers suspecting tax or charity–related fraud should visit IRS.gov and perform a search using the keywords “report phishing.” For more information about tax scams and schemes visit IRS.gov using the keywords “scams and schemes.”

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) furlough dates

Chairman Jerome Horton would also like to take this time to advise you that the IRS will close all of its public operations on five days through the end of August because of employee furloughs.

The IRS will be closed and almost all employees will be furloughed on May 24, June 14, July 5, July 22, and Aug. 30. As many as two additional furlough days may be imposed in August and September.

The closing will affect operations, including the IRS toll–free lines and taxpayer assistance centers. If you are conducting business with the IRS, please be advised of the aforementioned furlough dates to prevent any possible frustration.

Source: State Board of Equalizati​on

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