(STL.News) There has been an outpour of support for the Ukrainian people amidst Russia’s invasion of the country. As the war intensifies, people worldwide are doing their part to help, be it through the donation of supplies or money. Unfortunately, this has also created an opportunity for fraudsters to profit from the people’s goodwill and altruism through various kinds of scams.
Many of the corrupt websites, phishing emails, and bogus fundraising appeared right after the invasion, which many consider having precipitated one of the greatest humanitarian crises that the world has ever seen in recent years. And many experts expect the fraudulent activity to grow so long as the war continues because it enables scammers to exploit many of the emotional triggers it brings.
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Types of scams
The most common scams that have popped up are in the form of an email. For example, one email scam has a logo that uses the Ukrainian flag’s color scheme, requesting donations in US dollars or cryptocurrencies for humanitarian organizations. Another dubious digital correspondence asks recipients to give money to help the children caught in the conflict or enable the Ukrainian military to purchase more weapons.
There are many fake fundraising websites too. Researchers have discovered a few online properties sporting the same colors as the flag of Ukraine and pictures of the soldiers and the war. Many will claim to solicit aid but won’t provide details on how the donations will be used. Many of them will also be on popular social media platforms, making them appear more credible than they are as a result.
How to avoid being scammed
While it’s fairly easy to get scammed by fraudulent charities in Ukraine, it’s not impossible to protect yourself from it. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that you steer clear of any scams.
- Be alert. The expected scams can range from fake donations and politically-driven robocalls. Generally, they encourage victims to jump on the cryptocurrency bandwagon. With that said, you mustn’t open any attachments or visit URLs from sources you’re not familiar with because they could contain malicious software.
- Research. Before making any donations, it’s a rule of thumb to research first. Look for inconsistencies in the website and check the contact information of the organization. Always remember that if something doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t, and it would be best for you to stay away from it.
- Choose outlets you trust. Look for a donation outlet that you trust rather than commit any finances to one that you don’t. Make sure that you avoid listing down your financial details on any web page that isn’t well-known.
Scammers will take advantage of every situation they can, and the current state of affairs in Ukraine is no exception. So be sure you do your homework before making a donation to ensure that your money is going to the right place.