Scam of the day – April 14, 2012 – Identity theft risk when making charitable donations

It has recently come to light that many non-profit charities when filing their Form 990 tax return which is required to be filed by tax-exempt organizations have included the Social Security numbers of those people making charitable donations.  These forms are open to public inspection by anyone including identity thieves who know where to go to harvest Social Security numbers for identity theft purposes.  Once an identity thief has your Social Security number, it is an easy matter to turn it into an identity theft nightmare for you.

TIP

When making donations to a charity, first make sure that the charity is a legitimate charity.  Second, even if the charity is a legitimate charity, you may wish to see how much of the charities funds go towards its charitable purposes and how much goes toward administrative expenses.  You can get the answers to both these questions at the website www.charitynavigator.org.  Finally, do not provide your Social Security number to charities when you make donations.  Remember, the fewer places that have your personal information, the safer you are.