Both the best and the worst human qualities are manifested in war. Today, the world’s attention is focused on the heroic resistance of the Ukrainians. For online scammers this is another opportunity to make easy money. When you see on TV a picture of destroyed Ukrainian cities and refugees who are forced to leave their homes, you want to help them. This sentimental impulse does not always correlate with logic and facts. We are ready to help, often without thinking about who my money will go to. Fraudsters are well aware of this and seize the moment (extort your money).
Some time ago we received an email from alleged victims of war in Ukraine asking for help.
Hi, I’m in Ukraine and we’re in the middle of a terrible war
Hi! I am in Ukraine, we have a terrible war going on and I am asking for your help with tears in my eyes.
I have had more grief. I am a mother of two children and our house was destroyed by Russian missiles, everything we had gained was burned. We lost our homes, we have nowhere to live. We are hiding in basements from bombing and praying to stay alive, we eat what we can. We have only what we are wearing.
I am asking for help. My children are freezing, there is nothing to eat and nowhere to live.
If there is any way – I would be grateful for any financial support.
Paypal: [text removed]
Bitcoin wallet: [text removed]
When transferring please write at least the word help and your name.
Thank you for your help and understanding, God give you health and peace in your home!
You have to be very careful with such messages. The risk of just losing your money is close to 100%.
Here are the highlights (red flags) that should alert you to this and similar letters:
- The first question you need to ask yourself is where did she get your email address? It is unlikely that the Russian bombing gave her the gift to guess e-mail addresses.
- In fact, this message is anonymous. The one who allegedly asks does not indicate his full name, date of birth, phone number or any other contact. Instead, you see the Bitcoin wallet number and PayPal. Potentially the person you are donating money to can be anywhere on the planet.
- These potential refugees are asking for financial help. But the money must be transferred via Bitcoin or PayPal. How is she going to pay with bitcoins in a bombed-out city with destroyed infrastructure?
- Banks and ATMs do not work in places of hostilities.
- Remember that money loses its function in war. You can’t just go to the grocery store and buy yourself some food. Because the stores no longer exist, they are destroyed. So in such situations there are various charitable organizations and foundations where you can transfer your money. Food, medicine and everything necessary are purchased in large batches and delivered to the places of hostilities, where it is later distributed free of charge to the needy.
I need to verify a person from Ukraine
Since the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine, we have recorded numerous frauds related to war escapes and refugees. Fraudsters deceive people on the pretext that they need money for a taxi – get to a safe place, to Poland, to the border etc. If you want to verify a person from Ukraine before sending her some money, we can help you.
We’re native Ukrainians based in Ukraine. We know how the real situation is. We have the necessary knowledge, experience and tools to verify people from Ukraine. The result is ready within 24 hours.