Donating to Ukraine? Watch out for charity scams

As people look for ways to help Ukrainians impacted by Russia’s attacks, watch out for crowdfunding and charity scams to make sure your donation goes to those in need.

“Unfortunately, scammers love to use times of tragedy and unrest to take advantage of kind-hearted people, said Melanie Duquesnel, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. “We know that everyone wants to help as much and as quickly as they can, but it is so important to take a pause and do your research, so that you do not fall victim to a scam.”

Here are some tips from the BBB to keep in mind while donating to Ukraine:

  • Can the charity get to the impacted area? Not all relief groups are position to provide help quickly. See if the charity already has a presence in Ukraine.
  • Should you send clothing or food? Local drives to collect clothing and food may not be as practical due to the timing and logistics to deliver and give out the items. Relief organizations are better equipped to get what is needed and distribute it effectively.
  • Does the charity meet BBB standards? Verify a charity’s trustworthiness by checking its evaluation report completed by BBB Wise Giving Alliance. Check here for a list of charities providing assistance to Ukraine that also meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.
  • Does the charity have experience providing emergency relief? Relief groups who are experienced providing disaster aid are one of the best bets to deliver help as soon as possible. Newer organizations and groups may have difficulty following through, even if they have good intentions.
  • Is donation to crowdfunding safe? With crowdfunding, it’s safest to donate to someone you personally know and trust. Review the platform’s policies on fees and distribution of collected funds before making a donation. If the crowdfunding request is from a charity, check out the group at Remember that some crowdfunding sites don’t vet individuals or groups that use their platform. Sites should provide descriptions of any security measures they take.
  • Does the charity make exaggerated claims, such as “100% will be spent on relief”? Charities have fundraising and administrative expenses and organizations claiming otherwise could be misleading the public. Even credit card donations have processing fees.

The following charities and organizations are BBC-accredited, and meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability:

About the Author