Scammers Take Advantage of Strangers Offering Aid to Ukraine

NBC Universal, Inc.

Ukrainians need help and people from all over the world are offering aid.

But there are also scammers taking advantage of the generosity of strangers, and they're using technology to try and get your money, and sometimes even your private data.

"The scammers have gotten really good,” said Michelle Dennedey, CEO of cyber security company Privacycode.

Scammers are now spoofing charitable websites, and sending emails and text messages that seem real. 

"Do not click that link,” said Dennedy. “If it's a charity you know and love, go to that charity's website. Don't impulsively click on a link or scan a QR code and think you're helping an individual."

Among the Bay Area companies helping, but also being spoofed, is Gofundme.

"It's a reality that fraudulent funds are part of any crisis like this,” said GoFundMe President Juan Benitez.

He said it has 80 people on staff to vet donation requests.

"We work with a variety of different partners and processing partners,” said Benitez. “Local charitable organizations, such as the US State Department, to understand what are valid recipients on the ground."

Those thinking of donating should avoid individual appeals, stick to groups they know and trust, and can find online.

They should also check with their employer. It's likely to vet charities, and can often match donations, too.

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