March 10, 2022

AlertScammers notoriously prey on generosity and goodwill during times of humanitarian crisis by setting up fake charities, and the war in Ukraine is no different. Charity scams typically have the same hallmarks, so be on the lookout for the following red flags: 

  1. Payment limitations or conditions: A trademark red flag of any scam is the insistence that donations be made by cash, wire, gift card or payment apps such as Venmo and Zelle. Even if you believe the charity to be honest, play it safe and go to its website yourself rather than clicking a link or giving information over the phone. Scammers are very good at creating fake but legitimate-looking sites or spoofing a charity’s Caller ID. 
  2. Urgency and secrecy: Anyone rushing you or asking that you “keep this between us” is not genuine.  By-the-book charities will work at your pace. Slow down and do not feel any pressure to donate on the spot. 
  3. Vague on details: Any legitimate charity will be able to tell you exactly how the money will be used, what percentage of the money goes to those being helped and what their tax-exempt number is. If you are not able to get those answers quickly, move on. 

OnlineThere are several resources available to help evaluate and validate a charity’s legitimacy. The following four are recommended by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): 

You can also go to the IRS to confirm an organization’s tax-exempt status. Charitable giving is to be commended, and there are thousands that will use your money wisely. We encourage you to follow these simple rules to know that your well-intentioned donations will be used in good faith.

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