Utah Department of Commerce warns Utahns about Ukraine relief scams

Mar 4, 2022, 12:19 PM | Updated: 2:45 pm
Hundreds of people gather to support Ukraine at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, Feb. 28, 2...
Hundreds of people gather to support Ukraine at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. (Mengshin Lin/Deseret News)
(Mengshin Lin/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Department of Commerce’s Division of Consumer Protection is asking Utahns to be careful of imposters pretending to raise money for Ukraine relief.

The DCP said that imposters often use global events to scam those wanting to donate.

The division says it encourages transparency and accountability in money-raising efforts. It explained that donation scams can destroy trust in the charitable giving process.

“The Utah way is to help those in need of assistance,” said Division Director Daniel O’ Bannon. “We applaud and encourage this generosity. Unfortunately, because scammers can and do capitalize on this, givers need to do their homework and make sure the group they’re giving to is actually doing what they say they’re going to do.”

There are steps, the DCP said, that people can take to avoid donating to an imposter. To donate wisely the DCP recommends:

  • Researching the charity to check if it is legitimate.
  • Asking questions. 
  • Not feeling pressured to give money on-the-spot. 
  • Asking for a receipt that includes the amount you donated, and the name and contact information of the organization or person you donated to.

The DCP added that crowdfunding, including money-raising through personal accounts on Venmo or PayPal, can be harder to verify. Well-meaning people who aren’t imposters can create a donation fund, but it can be difficult to tell what is legitimate. 

The DCP said it advises people to ask questions and research crowdfunding efforts the same way they would investigate a larger charity.

People, groups, and organizations asking for funds are usually required to register with the DCP. The DCP has a searchable database of registered charities.

The DCP said crowdfunded efforts should disclose how funds are used. 

Related: State, business leaders announce donation drive to help Ukraine refugees

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Utah Department of Commerce warns Utahns about Ukraine relief scams