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BBB warns against fake charity scams

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - As the Ukrainian-Russian Conflict intensifies daily, the Better Business Bureau is reminding us to take the time to be extra cautious and safe if we wish to donate to any particular charities.

Rebecca Barr, the PR and Communications Manager for the Better Business Bureau in the region, says we should always be thinking of a few questions as we look for the right charity.

"There are few things you really want to ask yourself when you are looking for the right charity to donate," Barr said. "And the first thing is, is can the charity actually have impact in the area?"

She says not every organization is as equipped to help though they are all well intentioned. She also mentioned another thing to keep in mind.

"Right now is probably not the time to be trying to send clothing and food because of how are they going to get it there? So it's probably not the time. So what in what ways are you trying to donate monetarily?"

Barr says to always check, "Is that charity reputable and what is their reputation? And making sure that those dollars are getting to where that you're intending them to go."

She says the BBB is always working and checking the various charities and has a website that can provide a guide for a giver.

She says the following charities have already been vetted by the BBB:

"The following nationally-soliciting charities are BBB Accredited (i.e., they meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability). Their respective websites indicate that they are either currently raising funds for assistance efforts in Ukraine or preparing for needs that could arise if conflict results in population displacement."

Barr also warns to throughly check any crowd funding sources.

"Be cautious of these crowd funding appeals," Barr said. "A lot of times that's where we see a lot of scams pop up. Anybody can start a crowdfunding account and start raising funds, what you think is going to their Ukrainian efforts, but instead it's going right into their pocket."

She also warned against unsolicited emails, text and messaging.

"So if you're getting unsolicited messages, either social media in your inbox, maybe it looks like it's coming from a friend, just make sure you have your guard up and instead of clicking on a link directly, go do a browser search to see how to get directly to that website and then making sure you're asking the right questions," she said.

Those questions are, "How are these funds going to actually help the victims in the Ukraine? So knowing what they're actually going to be doing with those dollars?"

Barr says if you are wanting to help out, following these steps will help point you in the right direction.

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.

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