If you are one of the thousands rallying to help the Ukrainian people in their time of need, Heart of the South West Trading Standards is advising you to follow a few simple steps to protect yourself.
Times of crisis can bring out the best in people – but unfortunately, from experience, we know that they also attract scams.
We all follow current events, but where many of us will think ‘how can I help?’, fraudsters will be working out how they can encourage people to part with their cash and personal information.
We have seen examples of fraud throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the current energy crisis.
If you intend to donate, remember:
- Fraudsters will usually cold-call on the phone, use direct messaging and texts and often take you to fake websites or social media pages. Avoid clicking on links that pop up on your social media feed or downloading attachments in unsolicited emails, texts, or social media messages. A common technique is to entice you to download malware onto your device or take you to a fake website to steal your money and personal information.
- If you receive a phone call, put the phone down; if it’s a text message forward it to 7726 or forward an email to email@example.com and then delete it.
- Be wary of fundraising pages on platforms that do not verify the legitimacy of the fundraiser or that do not guarantee your money will be returned if the page is determined to be fraudulent. Crowdfunding requests can also be fake. Avoid donating to a source if you do not know the individual or cannot verify that source.
- If you think you have been scammed, please contact your bank immediately. If you have given your card details remember many online accounts these days give you the option to ‘freeze’ the card. This is only a stop gap until you contact your bank.
If you are looking to help people in Ukraine, please donate wisely – do your research first so you give without being scammed.
Find more information on how to check if something’s a scam and what to do if you’ve been scammed on the Citizens Advice website or call their consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133. For more information regarding registered charities please refer to the Charity Commission’s website.