Use caution when making donations to help Ukraine
March 03, 2022
Scammers are always lurking in the background. When a new disaster or event occurs, they fine-tune their toolkit.
With the war in Ukraine, scammers are on the move. They know that millions of people want to support the Ukrainian people. They’re setting up fake charities that look and sound like real ones to try to get your money.
If you want to help Ukraine, make sure your generosity benefits the people and groups you want it to.
Here are suggestions from Jennifer Leach, associate director for the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Consumer and Business Education:
- Check out the organization. Search online for the name of the group, plus words such as “review,” “scam,” or “complaint.” See if others have had good or bad experiences with the charity. And see what charity watchdog groups say about that organization.
- Slow down. You don’t have to give immediately. It’s a good idea to do some research first to make sure your donation goes where you want it go.
- Find out how your money will be spent. Ask, for example, how much of your donation will go to the program you want to help. If someone calls to ask to donate, they should be able to answer those critical questions.
- Know who’s asking. Don’t assume a request to donate is legitimate because a friend posted it on social media. Your friend might not personally know the charity or how it spends money.
- Look at fees and timing, especially if you’re donating through social media. Be sure to make sure what organization your donation goes to, check whether there are fees, and how quickly your money gets to them. And if you can’t find the answers quickly, consider donating in other ways.
Being careful before you donate over the phone, through the mail, or online will help ensure that your contributions reach the causes you intend to support.
To learn more about making contributions, go to ftc.gov/charity.
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