LUMBERTON — The Internal Revenue Service has issued a warning about scams that prey on people who want to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy, but local officials say they have no reports of fraud in Robeson County.
According to the IRS, scam artists falsely representing charities contact people by telephone, through social media or email, or face to face seeking money. The scams mimic the websites of, or use names similar to, legitimate charities, or claim to be affiliated with legitimate charities, in order to persuade people to send money or provide personal information that can be used to steal identities or gain access to money.
The IRS offers the following tips to help avoid scams:
— Donate to recognized charities.
— Check charities by searching their names at IRS.gov or the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website fema.gov. Some phony charities use names or websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations.
— Don’t give out personal financial information — such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords — to anyone seeking a contribution.
— 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.
— If you are a hurricane victim with specific questions about tax relief or disaster related tax issues, call the IRS toll-free disaster assistance telephone number, 1-866-562-5227.
Taxpayers suspecting disaster-related frauds should visit IRS.gov and search for the keywords “Report Phishing.”
More information about tax scams and schemes may be found at IRS.gov using the keywords “scams and schemes.”
When contacted, the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office and Lumberton police said they do not have any reports of scams locally.