Images of the devastation in Ukraine and the flood of refugees from cities and villages being bombed into submission by Russia are heart-wrenching. Even beyond belief.
Once again, we warn you about fraudulent charities and the creeps and con artists ready to take advantage of your willingness to help.
Situations like what is happening in Ukraine bring out the best in people – like the moms leaving strollers at a railway station in Poland for refugees to use.
Unfortunately, they also bring out the worst of the scum – the scammers and fraudsters who take your money and keep it for themselves.
I just got an urgent email from somebody claiming to represent Ukrainian orphanages.
How did they get my email address? Why me? Why do they want me to send money directly to some postal address?
Be Careful Where You Donate
Here’s what to watch out for to signal a charity scam – and it’s not just Ukraine charity frauds, but also scams to raise money for flood victims, tornado victims, forest fire victims in the USA:
Links on Google posing as Haitian charities were really links to malicious software sites that may steal your identity or turn your computer into a robot for sending spam.
CBS News reported that fake charities began popping up on Craigslist within hours after the Haitian earthquake, and they are starting to pop up for Ukraine, too.
The FBI warned about phony emails asking for money, which also could contain malicious virus programs or link to phishing websites.
And I am warning you to be careful of fake charities whose name sounds oh, so close to a legitimate one.
for advice on avoiding
identity theft, romance scams and more.
Humanitarian groups need money for emergency relief supplies, including clean drinking water to prevent another outbreak of cholera, such as the one that killed so many Haitians after the earthquake.
Give only to well-known charities, or to your local religious group.
If in doubt, check Charity Navigator, a non-profit watchdog site that rates charities for their honesty, reliability and perfomance.
If the charity is not listed on US-based Charity Navigator, check to see if it is listed with the similar Charity Commission for England and Wales.
If you can’t find it on either site, don’t send them your money.
The alleged charity for orphanages is not registered with either charity monitoring organization, so by my book, they are a scam.
These charities are legitimate — and need your donations — and all have the four-star top rating from Charity Navigator —
Water Missions, which provides drinkable water for poor communities around the world
Additional charities helping Ukraine –
Chef Jose Andres World Food Kitchen
This article was published first in 2016, and has been updated and republished in 2022