FBI warns of scams linked to Ukraine crisis | News, Sports, Jobs

Maui News

The public should be aware of recent fraudulent schemes to obtain donations or other financial aid related to the crisis in Ukraine, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said last week.

Criminal actors are profiting from the Russian-Ukrainian war by posing as Ukrainian entities in need of humanitarian aid or expanding fundraising efforts, including monetary and cryptocurrency donations, the FBI said.

Likewise, scammers have used past crises as opportunities to target members of the public with fraudulent donation schemes.

The FBI has provided guidance on how to protect against scams, including being wary of online communications claiming to be people affected by the conflict in Ukraine and seeking immediate financial assistance.

Although the Ukrainian government and other private organizations maintain official donation mechanisms, the FBI said it is cautious and fact-checking information about entities claiming to solicit help for causes related to the Ukraine crisis.

“If an entity is requesting donations to specific cryptocurrency addresses, exercise caution, always check carefully if the addresses are legitimate and compare the alphanumeric characters of the address to any known official address,” according to the public service announcement.

Federal officials also suggest not communicating with or opening texts, emails, attachments or links from unknown individuals posing as Ukrainian entities in need of humanitarian assistance, as well as not not send payments to unknown individuals or organizations requesting financial assistance.

Best practices for verifying charities include, but are not limited to, researching the charity online to see if there are any news, reviews, or posts linking the charity to the fraud ; check if the charity is registered with the state charity regulator; and checking the Internal Revenue Service website to see if the charity is registered at https://www.irs.gov.

To report an Internet financial scam or fraudulent scheme related to the Ukraine crisis, file a report with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

If possible, include all information about the individuals or charity, such as name, phone number, address, and email address; financial transaction information, such as date, type of payment, amount, relevant account numbers, name and address of receiving financial institution, and receiving cryptocurrency addresses; and a description of the interaction with the individual, including how the contact was initiated, such as type of communication, purpose of requesting money, how payment was requested, information that were provided to the criminal actor, and any other details relevant to your complaint.

For questions or concerns, call the local office at (808) 566-4300 or visit honolulu.fbi.gov.

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Christi C. Elwood