Apparently because there are just too many a-holes in the world, the IRS has issued a warning about charity scams that have popped up in the wake of the Boston and West, Texas tragedies.
"It's sad but true," the IRS tells us. "Following major disasters and tragedies, scam artists impersonate charities to steal money or get private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. Fraudulent schemes involve solicitations by phone, social media, e-mail or in-person."
So what can you do to protect yourself?
We're glad you asked. The IRS says you should only donate to qualified charities -- you can use the Exempt Organizations Select Check tool at IRS.gov to find these charities. (FEMA.gov also has a list of qualified charities.)
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Also, "be wary of charities with similar names." Some scammers "use names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations." So you may want to think twice before forking over any cash to "The Reddish Cross."
Don't give out personal info: Never give your Social Security number, credit card or bank account numbers to anyone who solicits a donation.
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: Don't let those mofos get away with it!