Charity scams to support Russian invasion Ukrainians on the rise
MADISON, Wis. – A warning against charity scams has been issued by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Commerce and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). These illegitimate scams claim to help those affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and expect donors to dig deep before seeking the legitimacy of the so-called organization.
“Con artists see tragedies as a way to line their pockets at the expense of well-meaning citizens,” said Lara Sutherlin, administrator of the DATCP’s Commerce and Consumer Protection Division. “Donate generously to a charity if you wish, but always research an organization before sending money.”
Scammers falsely claiming to be a legitimate charity are intrusive, using phone calls, text messages, emails, letters or online solicitations to trick well-meaning people into donating money to their “cause”. More often than not, they will use web addresses and aliases that impersonate real charities, making them hard to spot. Remember that almost all legitimate nonprofit organization websites end in “.org”.
“We certainly encourage generosity to help Ukrainians, but caution donors to avoid questionable appeals,” said Michelle Knuese, administrator of DFI’s Business and Consumer Services Division. “With a little research and a few precautions, you can protect yourself from scammers and make sure you’re donating to a legitimate charity.”
On the lookout for charity scams
The following list was compiled by the Wisconsin DFI and can help you avoid fraudulent transactions:
- Watch for social media posts, emails, or text messages that claim to contain proprietary information or photos. Clicking on attachments or clicking on links in these communications may expose your computer or phone to malware.
- Search charities by name on www.charitynavigator.org Where www.give.org.
- Exercise caution with any charities that have sprung up since the invasion began. Research who will administer the funds, how they will be used, and whether donations are tax deductible.
- Beware of high pressure introductions and money transfer requests.
- Avoid giving money or transferring money to people or organizations you don’t know.
- If you’re donating through a public fundraising website, often referred to as “crowdfunding,” review the site’s security policies before making a payment. Although these sites generally have a number of safeguards in place for users, please be aware that there is no way to guarantee that the information posted is completely accurate or truthful.
- If you doubt the legitimacy of a charity, research the contact details for the operation rather than using the contact details provided in the pitch or search listing.
Under Wisconsin state law, most organizations soliciting charitable donations must register and file an annual report with the DFI. To check if a charity is registered, visit IFD websiteemail: [email protected], or call: 608-267-1711.
For more information or to file a complaint, visit the DATCP Consumer Protection Office at datcp.wi.govemail [email protected] or call the Wisconsin Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.
The Racine County Eye, which includes Kenosha’s lens, is your source for local information serving our diverse communities. Subscribe today to stay up to date with local news.