How to Help

How to Help Ukraine: Questions to Ask Before Donating to Avoid Getting Scammed

NBC Universal, Inc.

Pleas to help the people of Ukraine are everywhere, but the New York state attorney general is warning consumers to be cautious in order to avoid potential scams.

Anyone receiving an email asking to help the relief effort, Attorney General Letitia James says it is important to first verify who is behind the email address, and don’t give personal information or a credit card number until then.

To look into a charity, go to places like “Charity Navigator,” “GuideStar” and “<a href="http://<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>To look into a charity, go to places like “<a href="https://www.charitynavigator.org/">Charity Navigator</a>,” “<a href="https://www.guidestar.org/">GuideStar</a>” and “charity watch”. There’s also give.org, which is run by the Better Business Bureau.</p> CharityWatch”. There’s also give.org, which is run by the Better Business Bureau.

"So if you go there and you see that a charity is accredited, you know that charity has gone through the process and has shown us that they meet the 20 standards of charity accountability, which look at governance, finances, marketing/promotion and effectiveness," said Claire Rosenzweig, the president and CEO of BBB of Metropolitan New York.

Rosenzweig said that there are key questions to ask before donating, among them: What percentage of the donation will go to the relief efforts? And does the group have experience in emergency relief?

"It’s really important to work with a charity that has this type of experience, working with an emergency like this," she said.

The humanitarian effort is being led by NYPD officers who are part of an Eastern European fraternal organization, which has 400 members with Russian or Ukrainian heritage. NBC New York's Gaby Acevedo reports.

One of those groups is the Stamford-based Americares, which said it is prepared to deliver medicine, medical supplies and relief items to the region, and is working closely with the World Health Organization to ensure a coordinated response to the crisis.

Americares is among twenty BBB-accredited charities already helping in Ukraine. The full list can be found on give.org.

Other accredited groups include “Catholic Relief Services”, “GlobalGiving” and the “International Rescue Committee."

"These charities we know are doing the work with the Ukrainian refugees, and they have boots on the ground, they have supply chains in place," said Rosenzweig.

It is important to remember to do some research before deciding to give. Any suspicious organizations should be reported to the state attorney general’s charities bureau.

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