Tips to donate wisely when giving to Ukraine relief efforts

Helping Ukraine
Posted at 3:43 PM, Mar 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 06:56:13-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As the crisis in Ukraine unfolds, millions of dollars in donations have been sent to the war-torn country. In Tennessee, residents of the Volunteer State are no strangers to opening their hearts and wallets during times of need.

"We are a giving people and unfortunately scammers know that and they're going to try to take advantage of it," said President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Middle TN & Southern KY, Robyn Householder.

Householder said it's important to take your time and do your research before making a donation.

"If you want to donate, you go proactively and find where you want to donate," said Householder. "Don't respond to an unsolicited text or an unsolicited email or a pop-up ad."

Scammers around the world are capitalizing on the surge of generosity, whether through phishing emails, texts, or pop-up ads.

Householder said, "many times the scammers are not specifically targeting you, but they're casting a very wide net and of course when they do that if one victim falls pray, well then it's a good day for them."

While it may seem helpful to donate items like clothes overseas, it's important to ask how those items will get there. Does the organization you're donating to even have boots on the ground near Ukraine?

Sometimes donating money directly to an organization's website is most effective. If you do choose to donate money, use a credit card instead of a debit card which is directly linked to your bank account, giving hackers easy access to your money.

Crowdfunding can also be a great tool, but make sure the organizer is a reputable source. "But if it's just a crowdfunding ad, if you will, or social media post and you're not familiar with the folks, just keep moving," said Householder.

Lastly, you can cross-check the organization's reputation by checking with the BBB or other watchdog groups like CharityWatch and CharityNavigator.