Voice of the consumer: How to help Ukraine and avoid getting scammed

11 Call For Action lead investigator Katie Pelton.
11 Call For Action lead investigator and 11 News at Noon anchor Katie Pelton.(KKTV)
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 5:20 AM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Our 11 News Call For Action team pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette. Previous columns can be found here.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - I know there are many of you who want to help out with the Ukraine crisis, but we want to make sure you don’t fall for any scams. My fellow 11 Call for Action reporter Julie Martin talked with the Pikes Peak Community Foundation about ways to do your homework before you donate your hard-earned money.

“People really want to open their hearts and wallets to support those in need,” said Kevin Farley, director of marketing and communications for Pikes Peak Community Foundation. “In this case in Ukraine, we see a lot of things popping up — from crowd-funding to direct government support — by the government of Ukraine and nonprofits looking to help the people of Ukraine. There’s a lot of opportunities to give. Some of them are legitimate and some of them are not.”

Unfortunately, we know scammers are quick to follow natural disasters and tragedies.

“What we see in society is you know scammers are always looking to make a quick buck, and they’ll take advantage of any situation, no matter how heinous it is, to try and get your money,” Farley said.

He recommends donating money to government agencies or verified nonprofit organizations that work directly with Ukraine or refugees.

“Make sure that they work in the area, and they have a history in the area or they have a history in that field of work,” Farley said. “For refugees, the United Nations Refugee Agency (works) with refugees all the time. That’s what they do. They are ready and mobilize to do that.

“With crowdsourcing websites, it’s really hard to verify the stories that are made. If you don’t personally know the organizer of that fundraiser, you don’t really know where your money is going at the end of the day,” he added. “That money, once it leaves your bank account, you don’t really know where it’s going. So just buyer beware. Be careful.”

The Federal Trade Commission recommends making a donation through credit card or check, and to always keep a record of your donation.

The commission lists five things to do before you donate to charity: First, search online. You can use words like “scam” after the organization to see if other consumers have posted about it before. Second, check out the charity’s website. Third, use organizations to help research the charity, like CharityWatch.org and CharityNavigator.org. You can also check to see if the charity is registered with the state on sos.state.co.us. Finally, check if the donation will be tax deductible at IRS.gov.

We have a list of organizations providing aid to Ukraine and accepting donations. Find it on our website, KKTV.com, and click the red “Find It” tab in the pull-down menu at the top left-hand corner.

Click here to read the original column on gazette.com.

Copyright 2022 KKTV. All rights reserved.