Turn to Tara: Scams target people wanting to help Ukrainians

As the Ukranian people fight to fend off a fury of Russian weaponry, an army of Hudson Valley volunteers are racing to respond.
Donation efforts like the one at the AFYA Foundation in Yonkers are proof positive of the growing sense of helplessness many of people feel across the tri-state. AFYA officials say so many are asking what can I do? How can I help?
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But with this outpouring of support comes a warning from authorities - people need to be extremely carefully who to support. The 'Turn to Tara' Investigative Team has discovered, that charity scams already abound.

The team uncovered a few examples of phony donation websites showcasing the Ukrainian flag and soldiers defending their freedom. Another one displays a massive explosion and inferno, conveniently pointing out the site accepts most credit cards and even Apple Pay.

There are also pleas on social media from alleged victims seeking donations via Bitcoin. “It's very common in times of crisis or war these scams come out of the wood works," says Better Business Bureau spokesman Brian Rauer.

Last year alone, Americans reported losing $1.6 billion to charity fraud. The average victim lost about a $1,000, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Here are simple ways to stay ahead of the scammers:
  • Make sure the website is secure by looking for the lock symbol and sites that start with https and end with .org.
  • Verify the legitimacy
  • Be careful what you click on
  • Always pay with a credit card.
“I think you should also check out how much money goes toward relief versus the administrative costs. Any charity that tells you 100% goes to relief is probably misleading you,” cautions Rauer.