How to avoid fundraising scams linked to Ukraine crisis

Published 6:59 am Wednesday, April 13, 2022

By Crystal Stevenson

American Press

I want to be able to donate to the people of Ukraine during this hard time, but I want to make sure the organization collecting the money is legitimate. How will I be able to tell?

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused terrible civilian casualties and forced people to flee their homes, people around the world are looking to help out however they can. Scammers are looking to cash in, as well.

It’s important to conduct due diligence to ensure you’re donating to a legitimate organization, according to Paige Hanson, chief of Cyber Safety Education at NortonLifeLock.

“Do research first,” Hanson told Fortune magazine. “Make sure the charity you have in mind has no charges or complaints against them — this can be done by going to a search engine and typing in the organization name with search terms such as ‘complaints,’ ‘review’ or ‘scam.’ If you find results that suggest the charity may be a scam, stay away from it.”

If you are looking to donate funds to victims of the Ukraine-Russia war, you can give money to reputable charities through their websites, but make sure that those charities are also doing work directly in or around Ukraine, or are working with reputable organizations on the ground. Watchdog groups such as CharityWatch, CharityNavigator, and the Wise Giving Alliance are keeping track of such organizations.

The best way to avoid being scammed by a fake charity is to decline to donate money during a phone solicitation. That won’t mean a legitimate charity is out of luck; if you like the sound of the charity, hang up and initiate the payment yourself through the charity’s website after researching it.

“Credit cards should be the only way to donate, as they provide a paper trail for an added layer of protection should you need to dispute a charge,” Hanson said. “If a charity is asking you to pay with anything other than a credit card, it’s likely you’re being scammed.”

Stock market terms

With regard to the stock market, please explain leveraged buyout, hedge fund, Ponzi scheme.

A leveraged buyout is when one company is purchased through the use of leverage, according to Investor.gov.

There are four main leveraged buyout scenarios: the repackaging plan, the split-up, the portfolio plan, and the savior plan.

The repackaging plan involves buying a public company through leveraged loans, making it private, repackaging it, then selling its shares through an initial public offering.

The split-up involves purchasing a company then selling off its different units for an overall dismantling of the company.

The portfolio plan looks to acquire a competitor with the hopes of the new company being better than both through synergies.

The savior plan is the purchase of a failing company by its management and employees.

Hedge funds are actively managed alternative investments that are considered non-traditional and risky alternative investment choices. Hedge funds charge much higher fees than conventional investment funds and require high minimum deposits.

A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that pays existing investors with funds collected from new investors. Ponzi scheme organizers often promise to invest your money and generate high returns with little or no risk.

Informer is written by Crystal StevensonAmerican Press executive editor. To ask a question, call 337-494-4098 and leave voice mail, or email informer@americanpress.com.