Donation Fraud: Criminals Abuse War in Ukraine
News | 31.03.2022
The current war in Ukraine shows how quickly fraudsters take advantage of people's plight: just a few days after the start of the war, the first fraudulent sites appeared asking for donations for the people of Ukraine, and the number is increasing.
supportukraine.today, sendhelptoukraine.com or ukrainedonate.today: These are just three out of a total of 15 fraudulent websites that the team of Watchlist Internet were able to find in their research. They all call for financial support for people in Ukraine. In fact, these "donations" end up directly in the hands of criminals. The majority of these sites offer to pay the money anonymously using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. The problem with this: not only the donors remain anonymous, but also those who collect the money. The full list of fraudulent donations site can be found on"Watchlist Internet" an anti-fraud service site from Austria (in german).
Call for donations via email and social media
In addition to the creation of these numerous fraudulent websites, donations are also called for by email or via social media. Scammers pretend to be organizations or individuals in need and ask for financial support. It is often claimed that there is no longer access to one's own Ukrainian account and therefore only a donation via Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies is possible.
How to protect yourself from donation fraud
To make sure your money really gets to the people of Ukraine, be sure to check who you're donating to. Pay attention to the following points:
- With none of the listed websites you can see who is behind the pages. Often it is not explained for what or for whom the donations are used. This is an alarm signal!
- You should also be able to check who is behind the fraudulent calls for support via email or social networks and what the money is being used for. If this is not the case, we advise against a donation.
- If you want to support people in Ukraine financially, we encourage you to make donations to organizations or people you know and trust. Always donate via the official website of the organization or ask the organization directly where you can donate.
This article was originally published in German by Watchlist Internet.