Wanting to help the people of Ukraine? Know what to look out for before sending money.

As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine intensifies, more than half a million Ukrainians have fled the country since the fighting began on Feb 24. People around the world are coming together to provide monetary support or supplies to those affected. Unfortunately, scammers use this as an opportunity to take advantage of your generosity. 

“Cybercriminals are sophisticated in their approach to gaining access to your personal and financial information, and the crisis in Ukraine is no exception,” said Robert Burda, Interim CEO of Cybercrime Support Network. “People are looking for a way to help, but this can be a breeding ground for scams.” 

The most common methods for soliciting donations are phone calls, emails, text messages and banner ads on websites you visit. While they may seem legitimate, oftentimes these communications are coming from cybercriminals. 

Before you send money, Burda offers a few simple tips to make sure your money gets in the right hands. 

  • Slow it down. Be aware when asked to click on a link or attachment to donate online. If the message was unsolicited, it could be a phishing attempt to capture your personal or financial information. “Scammers will prey on your emotions and create a sense of urgency to get you to respond quickly, leaving you little time to evaluate who you are speaking with. It’s important to take a moment to do your research before taking action to make sure your money ends up in the right hands,” he said.
  • Spot Check. A simple Google search of the organization’s name, along with the words “review,” “scam,” or “complaint” can yield responses that will help you evaluate their credibility. 
  • Stop! Don’t send. As a rule, any organization requesting that you wire funds to a foreign bank, purchase gift cards as a donation method or act immediately is a scam. 

You want your donations to count, so it’s important to do some research before sending money. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides additional resources on how to identify fake charities and what to do if you have been impacted by this type of scam. Click here to read Before Giving to a Charity