WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWLP)– Law enforcement and consumer protection organizations are warning people to beware of scammers before donating to anyone claiming to be providing help in Ukraine.

Scammers take advantage of any type of crisis and prey on people’s generosity and sympathy, and the war in Ukraine is no different. They create fake charities that may look legitimate, or claim to be from a real support organization. Before you donate, be sure to do your homework first.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers these tips:

  • Check out the organization. Search online for the name of the group, plus words like “review,” “scam,” or “complaint.” See if others have had good or bad experiences with the charity. And see what charity watchdog groups say about that organization.
  • Slow down. You don’t have to give immediately. It’s a good idea to do some research first to make sure your donation goes where you want it go.  
  • Find out how your money will be spent. Ask, for example, how much of your donation will go to the program you want to help? If someone calls to ask to donate, they should be able to answer those critical questions.
  • Know who’s asking. Don’t assume a request to donate is legitimate because a friend posted it on social media. Your friend might not personally know the charity or how it spends money.
  • Look at fees and timing, especially if you’re donating through social media. Be sure to make sure what organization your donation goes to, check whether there are fees, and how quickly your money gets to them. And if you can’t find the answers quickly, consider donating in other ways.

NBC News has provided this list of verified charities that are currently bringing aid to Ukraine:

Charity Navigator has a website dedicated to educating Americans about non-profit resources and suggests giving these organizations a try: