Internal Revenue Service said scam artists are already making calls.
Thousands of families in New York and New Jersey are struggling to survive after Hurricane Sandy blew through two weeks ago.
People from all over the country want to help victims put their lives back together again. Internal Revenue Service spokeswoman Peggy Riley said if you are going to donate to a charity, make sure it's reputable because scam artists are already making calls.
"Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Some phony charities use names or websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations," Riley said.
Do not send cash or give out personal information like bank account numbers. Riley added, "Scam artists may use this information to steal your identity and money."
The IRS website at IRS.gov has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check, which allows people to find legitimate, qualified charities to which donations may be tax-deductible. Legitimate charities may also be found on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Web site at fema.gov.
Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage and over 60,000 Long Island residents still do not have power.