Nonprofits warned about email scam

According to published reports, more than two dozen Virginia organizations, as well as organizations around the country, received emails from an individual in England, unknown to the organizations, offering an approximately $30,000 donation. 

Here’s how the check-kiting scheme works: After receiving the original email, the nonprofit gets a check for $40,000. Another email arrives concurrently, saying that the overpayment is the result of a clerical error and asking the nonprofit to return the excess payment. A victim nonprofit might deposit the check and not know for several days that it bounced, during which time it might send a $10,000 “refund,” money that will never be seen again.

Donors say messaging affects their giving Charitable Donations

Seventy-two percent of respondents in software provider Abila’s Donor Loyalty Survey say their decision to give is affected by an organization’s messaging. In February 2016, Abila surveyed 1,136 U.S. donors of all ages who had made at least one donation during the previous 12 months. 

Seventy-five percent of respondents said they prefer a “short, self-contained email” with no links, while 73% prefer a short (two to three paragraphs) letter or online article. Sixty percent prefer short (under two minutes) YouTube videos. 

About 71% of respondents feel more engaged when they receive personalized content. But personalization gone wrong — for example, with misspelled names or irrelevant information — can alienate donors.

GuideStar introduces program metrics to profiles

GuideStar has launched a new tier of Nonprofit Profiles called GuideStar Platinum. The no-charge Platinum tier allows nonprofits to report their progress against their missions using metrics they select. GuideStar has collected about 700 suggested metrics, but nonprofits may opt to share the metric(s) they already track and that matter the most to them. For example, a homeless shelter could report the number of people no longer living in substandard housing as a result of its efforts.

According to GuideStar, more than 500 nonprofits signed up within 48 hours of the first announcement of Platinum in April 2016. 



WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry on Jan. 25 renewed their warning about an email scam that uses a corporate officer’s name to request employee Forms W-2 from company payroll or human resources departments.

This week, the IRS already has received new notifications that the email scam is making its way across the nation for a second time. The IRS urges company payroll officials to double check any executive-level or unusual requests for lists of Forms W-2 or Social Security number.

The W-2 scam first appeared last year. Cybercriminals tricked payroll and human resource officials into disclosing employee names, SSNs and income information. The thieves then attempted to file fraudulent tax returns for tax refunds.

This phishing variation is known as a “spoofing” e-mail. It will contain, for example, the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In this variation, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office or human resource employee and requests a list of employees and information including SSNs.

The following are some of the details that may be contained in the emails:

Working together in the Security Summit, the IRS, states and tax industry have made progress in their fight against tax-related identity theft, but cybercriminals are using more sophisticated tactics to try to steal even more data that will allow them to impersonate taxpayers.The Security Summit supports a national taxpayer awareness campaign called “Taxes. Security. Together.” This campaign offers simple tips that can help make data more secure.