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Beware Of Scams Targeting Ukraine Relief Efforts

  • Security
  • April 2022
  • Premier America

The Scam

Fraudsters are seizing the opportunity to scam people who just want to help.
Scammers use phone calls, texts, and emails (often with a link to a spoofed website, or an attachment), social media networks, banner ads, and the internet, sometimes posing as friends, family, or romantic interests on social media, to request donations.
The reasons for the donation often seem legitimate – the need to relocate a family or child within or outside the country, their home has been destroyed, or the need for medical or rebuilding supplies including medication and food. Key red flags include a sense of urgency and requesting donations in the form of gift cards, wire transfers or cryptocurrency.
Bottomline, the scammer receives the donation rather than helping the intended cause.

Ways to Protect Yourself

If you want to donate to this cause, consider these risk mitigating tips:
  • Do not click on a link or attachment in an email to donate online if it is received from someone you do not know.
  • Connect through a different method to verify an online donation request is from a friend or family member.
  • Do not provide Personal Identifying Information (PII) or debit / credit card numbers in response to an unsolicited donation request.
  • Resist high pressure tactics and those with a sense of urgency. Be aware of direct emails from  “victims” and solicitors who have a heart-wrenching story.
  • Research the organization and make sure it is legitimate before donating. Enter the URL of the charity yourself to independently confirm you are contacting the right organization.
  • Be wary of requests for wire transfers, cryptocurrency and gift cards.
  • If donating on a charity’s website, make sure the website is secure, your internet connection is secure, and your computer is equipped with the latest anti-virus protection.
  • If possible, always pay by credit card, which offers additional layers of protection. If donating using a check, always make the check payable to the charity instead of an individual.
  • If you believe you are the victim of a scam, please contact the credit union to put a hold on the account or credit card. Be sure to your check accounts regularly for any suspicious activity or unauthorized charges and set up notifications that will track your credit card transactions and alert you to account activity.