Tips To Avoid Fake Ukraine Charities
With the ongoing war on Ukraine by Russia, thousands of Ukranian civilians have traveled to the country’s border hoping to flee to safety of neighboring countries such as Poland, Belarus and Moldova.
Multiple charities have offered their services to help Ukranian refugees flee the country and tend to those who chose to stay and fight. However, fraudsters have also used this conflict to their advantage.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network, Better Business Bureau and the FBI advises the public to beware of fake charities looking to take your donation money without the intention to help those displaced by war.
“Scammers follow the headlines and take advantage of them when they can,” said Keali`i Lopez, AARP Hawai`i State Director. “Public desire to support Ukraine in this critical time of need is no exception.”
According to the FBI, “criminals often use tragedies to exploit you and others who want to help.”
To effectively avoid charity scammers, here are tips to identify them.
How scammers work
They would communicate with you through text, email, call, social media or even in person, asking for donation money to help the people of Ukraine. Scammers like using names of a charity that sounds familiar to the public. When communicating with you, they may pressure you to act quickly by directing you to donate the money through a payment app, via text, buying gift cards or asking you the card numbers.
What you should know
Fake charities may use names similar to existing charities to legitimize themselves. If the charity is forcing you to give money immediately, consider it a big red flag. Real charities will take your donation when you are ready to provide it. Moreover, less common payment options are also a red flag, especially those that seek checks or cash.
What you should do
If you are looking to help the people of Ukraine, research for legitimate charities that have a proof of their charitable works in Ukraine. It’s important to do your research before donating. A good place to start searching is on sites such as give.org or charitywatch.org.
When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams.