NY AG: Beware of sham charities exploiting Ukraine crisis

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Attorney General Letitia James Thursday warned New Yorkers of sham charities looking to take advantage of their desire to help the people of Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion.

She’s advising New Yorkers to take to following steps before giving to a charity:

  • If you get a solicitation email, contact the charity that is named in the email or visit its website to find out if the email is really from the charity. James says you should only share personal information or your credit card number in response to an email solicitation if you have checked out the charity.
  • Be extra careful when giving through social media or other fundraising websites. Research the identity of the organizer and ask the same questions you would of a charity. Look at the site’s FAQs and Terms and Conditions to see what fees will be charged. Don’t assume that charities recommended on social media sites, blogs, or other websites have already been vetted.
  • Check the Office of the Attorney General’s website for financial reports of charities or ask the charity directly to see its reports.
  • Ask how your donation will be used.
  • Look into newly formed organizations carefully. Some may not have the experience or infrastructure to follow through on their promises, and some may turn out to be scams.
  • Don’t give cash. Give directly to the charity either by check made payable to the organization or through the charity’s website.
  • Be cautious before giving credit card or personal information over the phone, by text message or via the internet.
  • Report suspicious organizations to the Charities Bureau at complaints@ag.ny.gov.