When scammers spot a crisis in the world, they are there to take advantage. It’s true after natural disasters, when scammers set up fake charities that look and sound like real ones to try to get your money. And it’s true now that millions of people want to support the Ukrainian people. If you’re one of them, take a moment to make sure your generosity really benefits the people and groups you intend.
Here are some places to start.
- Check out the organization. Search online for the name of the group, plus words like “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.
Consider posting this helpful info on your bank’s website as a consumer advisory. The FTC also offers other tips and helpful information on spotting scams and how to avoid becoming a victim.