Wise Giving Tips on Donations to Assist Ukraine Relief Efforts
(Hartford, CT) – With families across Connecticut seeking ways to support Ukraine relief efforts, Attorney General William Tong and Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull issued guidance today on how to spot scams and ensure your support is going to legitimate efforts.
“The unprovoked Russian attacks on peaceful communities across Ukraine have caused horrific human suffering. Connecticut families watching this tragedy unfold want to help. This is precisely the kind of crisis that scammers seek to exploit for personal gain. Do not let them. Take your time, research the charity or effort you want to support. Do not let scammers prey on your heartache and generosity,” said Attorney General Tong.
“The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has also created a prime opportunity for scammers to take advantage of your good will,” said DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “Anyone who uses high pressure tactics or insists you need to donate immediately via gift card or cryptocurrency is likely a scammer. Do your research and make sure the money you’re donating will actually be used the way you intend.”
Attorney General Tong and Commissioner Seagull shared the following wise giving tips on donations to assist Ukraine:
- Do Your Homework: Take time to research online to make sure that your donation actually goes where you want it to go. Check out the charity’s website, ask questions and see what charity watchdogs have to say about that organization. Charities soliciting in Connecticut must be registered with the Department of Consumer Protection. You can verify a registration by visiting elicense.gov. See also Charity Navigator BBB Wise Giving Alliance Charity Watch Candid
- Crowdfunding, Social Media Fundraising Appeals: Review the platform’s policies regarding fees and distribution of donated funds. Most crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals or organizations, so it is generally safest to give to someone you know personally or trust. Check Give.org if the crowdfunding request is from a charity. Also See the Federal Trade Commission’s Tips on Donating Through Crowdfunding, Social Media and Fundraising Platforms.
- Do Not Be Pressured or Share Personal Information Over the Phone: Do not share your social security number, credit card, debit card, passwords or bank account information with anyone who solicits a contribution from you. A legitimate charity will not pressure you to make a donation immediately. Scam artists use this information to steal your identity and money. Contact a charity by using a website you know is trustworthy or look up their phone number and call them directly. It is safest to donate by check or credit card, rather than cash. Check your statements closely to make sure you’re charged only for what you agreed to donate.
- Tax Deductible Donations: If making a tax-deductible donation is important to you, use the Exempt Organizations Select Tool at IRS.gov to find qualified charities. Only donations to qualified charitable organizations are tax-deductible. Once you have made your donation, be sure to get a receipt for your contribution.
- Report suspected scams or fraud: Connecticut residents may report charity related fraud by contacting the Office of the Attorney General via email at email@example.com or by calling 860-808-5318. Complaints can be filed here. Consumers can also report instances of fraud to The Department of Consumer Protection by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting this site.