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Tips for Avoiding Scams When Helping Ukrainians

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Monday, April 4, 2022   

Many people are looking for ways to help Ukrainians affected by war. However, they should be on the lookout for scams.

Lynn Heider - vice president for communications and public affairs with the Northwest Credit Union Association - said unfortunately, emergencies breed fraud.

She said credit unions in the Northwest have been heartened by the outpouring for Ukraine, and so there are a few tips to keep in mind with donating. Heider said people should look for well-established charities.

"Consider charities that have global reach," said Heider, "that have experience going into situations like this and providing on-the-ground services that are very effective."

Heider points to two organizations based in the Northwest - Mercy Corps and World Vision - as examples of charities already in Ukraine providing assistance.

The Better Business Bureau says it's already seeing scams pop up. Heider said the organization is a good resource for looking into charities' legitimacy.

She said people also can check with credit unions because many are directing funds to established organizations. There also are tips for what to avoid, starting with crowdsourcing sites.

"Be leery of those unless you really know the organization," said Heider. "If you get an ask for cash, checks or gift cards, don't provide that, and do not provide any of your personal banking information. There's never a reason to do that."

Heider said people have options if they've been scammed.

"If you feel you've been the victim of fraud," said Heider, "file a complaint with your state attorney general's office because they will take it seriously and investigate. Also, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission by visiting 'Reportfraud.ftc.gov.'"



Disclosure: Northwest Credit Union Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Community Issues and Volunteering, Consumer Issues, Housing/Homelessness, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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