The War Against Ukraine Gives Online Charity Scams A Lucrative Boost
By: Jim Stickley and Tina Davis
April 12, 2023
With every new crisis comes the opportunity to exploit it for personal gain. If nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic gave us an explosion of online scamming, bringing fraud crimes to historic heights. It’s human nature at one of its worst moments and fraudsters never seem to run out of reasons to hijack our donations for themselves.
Sadly, the war in Ukraine gave a huge green light to donation fraud that ESET Security found is currently spiking. The ongoing conflict is yet another major crisis for scammers to exploit, and they’re not wasting any time stealing money through fake charity scams the world over. And since being better informed should translate to legitimate charity choices, a look at avoiding the pitfalls of donating your money to unscrupulous thieves is needed.
Spotting Charity Fraud
Aside from the everyday essentials, still more help will be needed to rebuild the homes, buildings and businesses destroyed by the conflict. All these needs provide additional heartstrings for fraudsters to tug, and they don’t hesitate to exploit them. So, pay attention to the red flags of donating to criminals and not those truly in need. The following tips are provided by the FBI and apply to any charity you may wish to help.
- Give to established charities or groups whose work you know and trust.
- Be aware of organizations with copycat names or names similar to reputable organizations.
- Do your research. Use the Federal Trade Commission's resources to examine the track record of a charity.
- Give using a check or credit card. If a charity or organization asks you to donate through cash, gift card, virtual currency, or wire transfer, it's probably a scam.
- Check the website's address—most legitimate charity organization websites use .org, not .com.
Make no mistake, the opportunists are out there in full force, but there are still plenty of legitimate charities helping raise funds for Ukraine and its citizens, as well as heaps of other charities in need of your help. So, make your choice for donation wisely and have faith in knowing you’ve securely helped those in need.