CONSUMER FIRST ALERT: Watch for scammers taking advantage of Ukraine tragedy

Close up of woman's hands with smartphone and unknown incoming phone call on it, fraud or scam...
Close up of woman's hands with smartphone and unknown incoming phone call on it, fraud or scam schemes(Oleksii Spesyvtsev | Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Updated: Mar. 6, 2022 at 6:00 AM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - So many people are looking for ways to help Ukraine, but consumer advocates are warning about the possibility scams.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection urges the public to do their research and make sure the money is going to a real fundraiser.

“Wisconsinites obviously want to donate and that’s really important, but it’s also really important that people do their research,” says Lara Sutherlin, Administrator, DATCP.

Sutherlin says scammers see opportunities in events like the attacks on Ukraine. They will set up fake charities.

“They’re very savvy. They can do things like use a name that sounds familiar to us, but it’s got a slightly different wording, so we think we recognize the organization,” says Sutherlin. “They can do fake websites that look a lot like a legitimate website. They can have a caller ID that says one name, but then you realize it’s something else. So what it requires, make sure you’re not clicking on that link and being taken to some place that you don’t want to go. Open up a different window. Do your research if it looks interesting to you. Open another window and research that. Look and see if they have any complaints. Look and see if it’s a legitimate organization. There are a lot of organizations doing good work that you might not have heard of, so I’m not suggesting if you don’t know them that they’re nefarious.”

Crowdfunding is popular. Sutherlin said look for organizers and check for contact information. Find out where that money is going. Review the site’s security policies before making a payment.

Be cautious with high pressure pitches or requests to wire money.

CLICK HERE for advice on avoiding scams trying to take advantage of the situation in Ukraine.

CLICK HERE for advice on making sure a charity is legitimate.

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