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We’re going to be talking about Ukraine relief charity scams — and how to avoid them — based on some information provided by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). But we want to share the most important links first. These are organizations providing relief to people in Ukraine: organizations that have already been vetted by the BBB. According to the BBB, these organizations are both trustworthy and also have a high likelihood of being able to get donations to people in Ukraine. For each one, we’ll include a link to the charity as well as the BBB Wise Giving Alliance Report on the org: • Catholic Relief Services and BBB report • GlobalGiving and BBB report • International Rescue Committee and BBB report • Save the Children and BBB report You can also visit the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability website for more information. Ukraine Relief Charity Scams So why are we talking about charity relief scams this week? Because bad guys are … bad. They love to take advantage of a tragedy. Russia’s invasion of its neighbor has galvanized the majority of the world’s people in support of Ukraine. And with public sympathy running high for the suffering people in that country, scammers have pounced. According to a report from CNBC, scammers are using fraudulent phone calls, emails, banner ads, and texts to ask for “donations”. The money is supposed to be for people in Ukraine. But in fact, it’s destined for the bank accounts of cybercriminals. So what do you do if you want to help? Well, one option is to donate to a pre-vetted charity like the ones listed above. But there are also some basic best practices that can help you avoid donation scams: Don’t click on links and attachments that come in unsolicited emails or texts. Be wary of appeals for aid that pressure you to make a snap decision. Creating a sense of emotional urgency is a common tactic used by scammers. Pay with credit cards instead of debit cards, since these can protect you if you’re a victim of fraud. Never donate using gift cards or wire transfers. How to Vet a Charity In addition, if you’re thinking about making a donation to a charity, do some due diligence on the organization before sending them money. Here are some questions to ask yourself before giving: • Does the charity appeal make unreasonable or exaggerated claims? All organizations have at least some overhead, so if they’re telling you that 100% of donations are spent on relief, they’re being misleading in their communications. • If it’s a crowdfunding appeal, do you personally know the person running it? If it’s your sister or the pastor at your church, that’s relatively safe. But if it’s someone you’ve never met, the risk is higher. And if it’s some rando from TikTok with a Venmo account, find a better way to give! • Does the charity have a good chance of getting help to people who need it? For example, if an organization has no presence or operating history in Ukraine, it may be hard for them to make sure your donation reaches those in need quickly. • Does the charity have experience doing the kind of work they’re trying to do? An experienced disaster relief charity, for example, will know how to get money and supplies to people in a war zone. An environmental non-profit, on the other hand, might genuinely want to help, and have the best of intentions, but they may lack the know-how to get the job done.

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