Attorney General Ford and Secretary of State Cegavske Advise Nevadans to Use Caution When Deciding on Donations to Charities in Support of Ukraine

March 11, 2022

Carson City, NV Today, as part of National Consumer Protection Week, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford and Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske warn Nevada residents to use caution when deciding on making donations for relief or other efforts for the benefit of Ukraine.

“Unfortunately, scammers use times of tragedy and unrest to take advantage of kind-hearted people trying to make a difference,” said AG Ford. “Be aware of what to look for in charity scams in order to help to ensure that your support is going to a legitimate effort, and only give to organizations you trust.”

“We know criminals are opportunistic and use current events to disguise their schemes with an air of urgency and legitimacy,” said Secretary Cegavske. “Never make a charitable contribution or investment decision without understanding what you are contributing to or investing in, who you are doing business with, where your money is going and how it will be used.”   

Attorney General Ford and Secretary Cegavske shared the following tips on making donations to assist relief and other efforts for the benefit of Ukraine:

Social Media and Crowdfunding – If donating to a crowdfunding platform, be sure to review the platform’s policies regarding the distribution of collected funds and fees that are charged. It is safest to only donate to crowdfunding campaigns if you know and trust the person or company who organized the campaign.

Give to Organizations You Trust – Review the charity’s purpose and make sure it’s one that already has a presence in Ukraine. Not all relief organizations are able to provide immediate relief to Ukraine or its residents. Find one that is already doing work in the country or has a legitimate global presence to organize and achieve its stated purposes.

Be Wary of Giving Out Your Personal and Financial Information – Scammers will use a crisis as an opportunity to steal your identity and money. Never give out your Social Security Number in response to a charitable solicitation. Debit cards are more vulnerable as they are directly linked to bank accounts. If a charity is asking you to pay with anything other than a credit card, it is likely you are being scammed.

Watch Out for Similar-Sounding Names, Web Addresses, and other Deceptive Tactics – scammers may use names that closely resemble well-established charitable organizations to mislead donors. Fraudulent websites have a slightly different web address from the legitimate charitable organization.

Verify the Legitimacy of a Charity – You can look up a charity in the IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search. Charitable contributions to verified organizations are tax deductible, and donations to individuals are not.

Cross Check the Organization with Watchdog Groups – Use groups such as CharityWatch, CharityNavigator, and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance to confirm the charity has an A rating.

Be wary of pop-up organizations and social media pages – Be wary of giving to organizations that are brand new or have little to no contact information. In addition, be wary of social media pages selling items for charity, especially when the pages have little not contact information as these pages are often scams.

Report Suspected Scams or Fraud – Nevadans may report charity related fraud by contacting the Office of the Nevada Attorney General here.

If you  suspect a scam or fraud, or have donated to a fraudulent charity, you may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, the Office of the Nevada Attorney General, or if an online charity, the Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3. Include as much information as possible with your complaint, including any information you have about the person, entity or webpage you donated through. Additionally, Secretary Cegavske encourages investors to contact the Securities Division it they are aware of any investment fraud or scheme.