How to spot charity scams in times of crisis

NOW: How to spot charity scams in times of crisis

ST.JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. – The Russian invasion of Ukraine is tugging at many people’s heartstrings.

You may find it is hard to stand by and not do anything to help. But, if you’re thinking of donating money to relief efforts, be careful because you could be an easy target for con-artists.

A representative with the Better Business Bureau-Indiana said there are some tell-tale signs a charity is likely fake. Nichole Thomas advises people to go to Give.org or Who. is, before sending any donations to make sure the sites are real.

"It’s always the scammer's fault when they scam someone, but in some ways, we can do our due diligence to ensure that we don’t get scammed,” BBB Indiana Communications Director, Nichole Thomas said.

Thomas with the BBB said scammers like to prey on people’s emotions, especially in times of crisis.

They’re searching for ways to take advantage of your generosity and desire to help. And with the conflict in Ukraine, many are turning to charities, GoFundMe accounts, and Airbnb to get money in the hands of Ukrainians.

But, it’s important to be careful and take steps to protect yourself- to ensure your hard-earned cash is actually going to those in need.

Thomas recommends you do your research, make sure the organization you’re donating to is legit. Fake charity scams can come from a phone call, text, or online.

So, pay attention to the web address, check for grammar. If words don’t make sense, that’s a red flag.

Thomas also says to check whether the charity was created since the invasion began. And if it was, be cautious.

Thomas says you can verify a charity by going to either give dot org or who dot is, which vet the organization for you.

“Give.org really breaks down the statistics, how did they use their money, what percentage goes to programs, what percentage goes to administration. It really gives you an unbiased view of the charity.” Thomas said.

Thomas said to use your best judgment when deciding whether or not something is legit or not.

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