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Watch For Scams Newsletter. Ukraine Crisis Scams
March 07, 2022
Ukraine Crisis Scams
Watch For Scams is dedicated to helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
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Ukraine Crisis ScamsAfter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused terrible civilian casualties and forced people to flee their homes, people around the world are looking to help out however they can.
For some, that meant booking vacant Ukrainian AirBnb’s that they have no intention of staying in just to help financially support Ukrainian families with some kind of income stream.
But for most people, that means donating money and cryptocurrency to help Ukrainians in need.
When a major crisis like Ukraine causes a surge of charitable donations however, it can also be used by scammers taking advantage of global goodwill by creating scam charities.
It’s important not to get caught up in the urgency of a situation, and still conduct due diligence to ensure you’re donating to a legitimate organization.
Who to donate to?If you are looking to donate funds to victims of the Ukraine-Russia war, you can give money to reputable charities directly through their websites. Make sure that those charities are also doing work directly in or around Ukraine, or are working with reputable organizations on the ground.
As a precaution, you should cross-check the organization with lists from watchdog groups, such as CharityWatch, CharityNavigator, and the Wise Giving Alliance. Charities that receive “A” ratings are safe.
As an added step to verify the legitimacy of a charity, you can look them up in the IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search. Charitable contributions to verified organizations are tax deductible, and donations to individuals are not, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Some verified nonprofit organizations on the ground in Europe include Global Empowerment Mission, which is in Medyka, Poland, providing housing and relocation assistance to refugees, and World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit organization founded by Spanish chef José Andrés which is giving meals to refugees.
If you do want to donate to a lesser-known Ukrainian charity, make sure to go directly to the organization’s website to make a donation for increased peace of mind.
What are red flags for fundraising scams?Donation requests from charities you don't recognize that claim you are a past contributing member should raise red flags. This is a tried and true tactic of cyber scammers, who want to deceive altruistic people out of their hard earned money.
People should also be especially wary of donation requests they receive—in fact, many scammers will try to convince you that you’ve previously given to their organization. If you don’t remember supporting the charity in the past, it’s likely that it’s a fraudulent email. If you have donated to the charity in the past, don’t click any links in the email. Instead, go directly to the charity’s website and donate there.
How should I donate?First-time donors often make the mistake of donating with debit cards, which are directly linked to their bank accounts and are therefore considered a more vulnerable payment method. The safest way to make a charitable donation is by credit card, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Never donate with cash, gift cards, or money wires. If a charity is asking you to pay with anything other than a credit card, it’s likely you’re being scammed.
New Page Dedicated to Oil Rig ScamsDue to the increasing popularity of the oil rig scammers who are part of romance scams, there is now a new webpage with information on the scam, how it works and the opportunity at the bottom of the page to add your own story/submission/photos and comments.
Check out the new page located at:
If you believe you have been a victim of this type of scam you should promptly report it to the IC3's website at www.IC3.gov. The IC3's complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration.
Remember - always watch for scams!
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