Louisiana Credit Unions Provide Tips to Safely Help Ukraine

NEW ORLEANS – Many Americans are looking for ways to support the people of Ukraine as the Russian invasion continues, but experts say there are several things you should consider before opening up your wallet.

“Scammers are already trying to take advantage and the Better Business Bureau has issued a warning to be on the lookout,” said Lacey Weaver of the Louisiana Credit Union League. “You need to do your research first to make sure your money really goes toward relief efforts.”

Make certain the charity you are giving to is experienced in providing emergency relief and whether they have the capacity and ability to deliver aid quickly, especially to an area under invasion.

If the group is asking for food and clothing, see how they will get those items overseas. Major relief organizations may have the capacity, but smaller ones should give you pause.

“Remember that organizations have operational expenses, so you may want to beware of groups saying 100% of your money will go directly to people in Ukraine. Look into how your money will actually be used, said Weaver.”

Be wary of crowdsourcing sites and appeals. Never send cash, checks or gift cards to any charity, and do not provide them with personal banking account information. If you decide you want to make a charitable donation, it’s always best to pay with a credit card so that if you experience fraud, you have a better chance of recouping some of your losses.

“There is never any reason to provide a nonprofit organization with your personal banking credentials and you should always request literature from a phone solicitation,” said Weaver. “If the organization wants your money, they can send you follow-up information by mail. Never make a quick decision by phone based on an unexpected request.”

The Louisiana Credit Union League recommends donating to organizations like Save the Children, the UN Refugee Agency, UNICEF, International Red Cross or Catholic Relief Services. These organizations have a global reach and are longstanding charities.

If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Visit reportfraud.ftc.gov for more information.

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About Louisiana Credit Union League

The Louisiana Credit Union League (LCUL) is a nonprofit, professional trade association that exists to serve credit unions in Louisiana. LCUL is dedicated, through cooperation, to promote, protect and perpetuate the credit union movement. For more information, visit www.lcul.com. 

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