Help Ukraine by donating to legitimate charities; NW Credit Unions advise how to be safe

SEATAC, Wash. (KTVZ) — As the invasion of Ukraine continues, many consumers in the Pacific Northwest want to open their hearts to help with relief efforts. But unfortunately, scammers try to take advantage of people’s generosity. Here are some questions and answers to consider, from the Northwest Credit Union Association, for those looking to make sure they are contributing to legitimate causes.

We’ve seen scammers come out of the woodwork during the pandemic. Can we assume that they will also try to exploit what is happening in Ukraine?

  • Unfortunately yes. Organizations like the Better Business Bureau have already seen potential fraud and warn consumers. It’s heartbreaking to think that anyone would exploit this terrible situation for personal gain, but sadly, that’s what criminals do best.

If people want to help Ukraine, what should they do?

  • Whenever you donate to charity, you will need to do your homework. In this case, it is essential to keep in mind the following:
    • First, does the charity you are donating to have experience in emergency relief? It’s an overgrown area. You should assess whether the charity has the capacity to provide assistance as soon as possible. Not all organizations are able to provide relief quickly.
  • Are they asking for food and clothing? If so, consider how the organization will get these items overseas. Large relief organizations may have capacity, but smaller ones should give you pause.
  • Is the organization exaggerating how much of your money will be used for relief – like 100%? Remember that reputable charities have operating expenses. Any charity claiming otherwise could be deceive the public.
  • Beware of crowdsourcing sites and calls. Indicate if you personally know and trust the person making the call.
  • Do not send cash, checks or gift cards to a charity or provide them with your personal bank account information. If you decide to make a charitable donation, it’s always best to pay with a credit card. If you are a victim of fraud, you are more likely to recoup some of your losses if you pay with a credit card.
    • There is never any reason to provide a non-profit organization with your personal bank details!
    • Always request literature from a telephone solicitation. If the organization wants your money, they can mail or email you tracking information. Never make a quick decision over the phone.

Is there a way to check the status of a charity?

  • The Better Business Bureau has a website which examines the standards of nonprofit organizations. It is a great tool for verifying responsibility. charity watch and Candid (formerly Guidestar) are also resources to help you research a charity.

Are there any organizations to consider?

  • Organizations that are already on the ground to help like body of mercy Where World Visionwho are based here in the North West, are organizations to consider.
  • You may also consider other well-known organizations with a global reach such as Catholic Relief Services, World Kitchen, UNICEF and the International Red Cross.
  • Check with your local credit union. As non-profit, member-owned cooperatives, credit unions are community-driven. Many direct funds to established organizations that help in Ukraine.

If you think an organization is acting in bad faith, what should you do?

  • File a complaint with your state attorney general.
  • If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission. To visit for more information.

the North West Credit Union Association is the trade association representing more than 175 nonprofit cooperative credit unions in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, and their 8.1 million consumer members. As not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions look after the financial well-being of their members. Everyone should open their eyes to a credit union. For more information, please visit:

Leslie M. Gill