BBB warns of possible Ukraine donation scams

REGIONAL — The Better Business Bureau wants consumers to beware of charity and crowdfunding scams.

According to a news release from the BBB, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, people are looking for ways to help Ukraine by donating through charities and crowdfunding.

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“Unfortunately, scammers love to use times of tragedy and unrest to take advantage of kind-hearted people, said Melanie Duquesnel, President & CEO of Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. “We know that everyone wants to help as much and as quickly as they can, but it is so important to take a pause and do your research, so that you do not fall victim to a scam.”

Tips when looking for ways to donate to Ukraine:

  • Check to see if the charity already has a presence in Ukraine. Some relief organizations are not able to provide relief as quickly as others.
  • If you want to donate clothing or food, donate to a relief organization. It may be challenging for local drives to collect food and clothing to send overseas.
  • Check if the charity meets BBB charity standards. To verify the charity, consumers can view an evaluative report completed by BBB Wise Giving Alliance.
  • If considering crowdfunding appeals, review the crowdfunding platform’s policies regarding fees and distribution of collected funds. For charities requesting crowdfunding, consumers can visit Give.org to check out the group.
  • Check if the charity has experience in emergency relief. Experienced relief organizations are the best way to deliver relief as quickly as possible.
  • Watch out for charities that make financial claims that include “100 percent will be spent on relief”. Any charity that makes this claim is potentially misleading the public. Charities will have fundraising and administrative expenses.

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For more information or to report a scam, visit bbb.org