Warning over fake websites exploiting war in Ukraine

A woman walks past anti-war graffiti in support of Ukraine, painted on shutters in Dublin city centr

Fake websites have been set up to scam people looking to send money to Ukraine - Credit: PA

Fraudsters are setting up fake websites and fundraising pages to exploit generous people looking to send aid to Ukraine, it has been warned. 

Suffolk Trading Standards said scammers follow the world headlines and are always working to create ways to encourage people to part with their cash and personal information. 

The Australian bushfires in January 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic are just two recent examples of fraudsters using times of crisis to attempt to scam people. 

Trading standards said fraudsters will be cold-calling, direct messaging and creating fake websites and pages on social media to 'raise funds' for the people of Ukraine

Suffolk businesses could be impacted by Russian cyberattacks in Ukraine, it has been warned.

Suffolk Trading Standards is warning people over fake Ukraine fundraising websites - Credit: PA

People are urged to avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments in unsolicited emails, texts or social media messages.

Fraudsters may also attempt to lure people into unwittingly downloading malware onto devices or taking victims to a fake website to steal money and personal information, the organisation added. 

A spokesman for trading standards urged people to donate wisely to people in Ukraine, and to do their research before parting with any money. 

"Scammers will pretend to be legitimate well-known charities, creating their own charity names, and impersonating people impacted by the war in Ukraine," the spokesman said. 

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"Do not donate via fundraising pages on platforms that do not verify the legitimacy of the fundraiser or that do not guarantee your money will be returned if the page is determined to be fraudulent.

"Be careful about crowdfunding requests as these may be fake and also come from scammers.

"Check the terms and conditions of funding platforms and ensure you are dealing with official organisations. If you are unsure, make your donation to an established charity instead."