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Scammers are using the Russian invasion of Ukraine to target generosity

Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 7:20 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - According to the Better Business Bureau, scammers are using the crises surrounding the Russian invasion of Ukraine to take advantage of people’s generosity and concerns.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, concerns about the emergency needs of Ukrainian people have grown. People across the world have begun trying to help by supporting charities that are raising funds, but experts say that scammers take advantage of people looking to help.

From heartbreaking video of destroyed cities to questions about what will happen next, cyber security expert Sam Curry said that people need to be extra cautious when donating to causes that say they are assisting the people of Ukraine.

“This chaos is what the dark side thrives on, so don’t give them that chance,” Curry said.

Curry said that scammers will send emails or text messages about where to send money, and then steal it. AARP Alaska State Director Teresa Holt says this is an all too common scam.

“What we know is that anytime there is a large news story that has a human component, that scammers will use that to reach out to people and scam them, take donations for a charity that is not really happening,” Holt said.

The Better Business Bureau also provides basic tips for giving, and also warned of some red flags to look, out for, including:

  • Can the charity get to the impacted area? Not all relief organizations will be positioned to provide relief quickly. See if the charity already has a presence in Ukraine.
  • Does the appeal make exaggerated financial claims such as “100% will be spent on relief.” Charities have fundraising and administrative expenses. Any charity claiming otherwise is potentially misleading the donating public.
  • Is the charity experienced in providing emergency relief? Experienced disaster relief charities are the best bet to help deliver aid as soon as possible. New entrants may have difficulty in following through even if they have the best of intentions.

The Better Business Bureau also provides basic tips for giving.

The safest way to donate to those affected is to go directly to the charity’s website. If you then receive a direct message, suspect the source right away. The AARP warns never send money to anyone who reaches out to you via social media, as a charity will never contact you directly.

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