Times of crisis can bring out the best in people, but they are a magnet for scammers, and sadly right now is no different.
Fraudsters follow the headlines and have already been working overtime to create ways to encourage people to part with their cash and personal information. We saw this with the Australian bush fires in January 2020 and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
If you are looking to help people in Ukraine, please donate wisely – do your research first so you give without getting scammed. One such scam that is circulating is saying that they are from the Red Cross.
Please protect yourself with the following information:
Scammers will pretend to be legitimate well-known charities, creating their own charity names, and impersonating people impacted by the war in Ukraine.
Scammers will be cold-calling, direct messaging and creating fake websites and pages on social media to raise funds. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments in unsolicited emails, texts or social media messages. They may attempt to lure you into unwittingly downloading malware onto your device or take you to a fake website to steal your money and personal information.
Do not donate via fundraising pages on platforms that do not verify the legitimacy of the fundraiser or that do not guarantee your money will be returned if the page is determined to be fraudulent.
Be careful about crowdfunding requests as these may be fake and also come from scammers. Check the terms and conditions of funding platforms and ensure you are dealing with official organisations. If you are unsure, make your donation to an established charity instead.
If you think you have paid money to a scammer, please contact your bank immediately.
If you have received a contact which you believe to be a scam you can also report it to Citizens Advice consumer helpline, on freephone 0808 223 1133.