Americans who care concerned and watching closely with what is happening with Russia and Ukraine should pay extra special attention to what could impact citizens here at home. Scams hitting email, texts and social media should be a concern for many.
Those trying to take advantage of a volatile situation, our country is in a position to be hit with mass impact of hackers, scammers, and thieves. Here’s a list of concerns and scams Americans might experience as the Russia-Ukraine war continues.
1 .We Need Your Support Now
In crisis time, many want to help and in many cases that help is with donations of funds. It is kind and generous to want to give out of need and support, but experts advise now is the time to be vigilant about donating money to relief effort organizations or GoFundMe pages. Scammers have a way of using kindness efforts to steal money through fake effort campaigns.
Most important, if you plan to donate through organizations such as the American Red Cross, a highly reputable organization for assisting those in need around the world, be sure you are on the true American Red Cross website. Sadly there are disguised phishing sites that lead you to believe you are on the correct site to make a donation to. Check the URL before you proceed. Don’t us a link you received from someone forwarding it to you or a link you clicked on social media. Go directly to the American Red Cross website yourself. https://www.redcross.org
- Help, I’m Stuck Here
Also known as the “Grandparent Scam” it is an all-too-common scam where someone pretends to a family member or friend, calls claiming to be stuck somewhere and in need desperate need of money.
In this case, you could receive a call hear from a close relative or friend who they are stranded in the Ukraine or Russia. The ask will be they need money for a plane ticket out or may even claim to have lost their passport. The conversation will be heightened giving details about how they were robbed or all the banks have closed. They will be desperate for help. Note that these criminals are very clever and can manipulate photos of your loved one to show as back up. It is recommended that you always check with your relative or friend through another means of communication to verify the story. It is recommended you get them directly on a phone call to discuss the concern.
2. It Sounds and Looks Real
Technology today is quite incredible and can easily make you believe you are seeing high-quality videos or audio clips of a public figure saying or doing something that never happened in real life. Remember, disinformation videos are designed to look natural. It’s not uncommon for these videos to use CGI technology and paid actors. Keep your guard up and don’t believe everything you see online and through social media posts.
3. I Have A Lot Of Money
You may have recently seen the Netflix series “Tinder Swindler,” where a con artists gave the an illusion to women he was very wealthy, but actually was swindling their hard earned cash to help keep up with this lies and lifestyle. This concern works much in the same way. Someone reaches out to you claiming they have a lot of money and they need to move that money to leave the country, They of course cannot do it without your help. You will be the one to pay transfer fees. If you receive such a message, report it as spam and delete it. This is a scam and not responsibility to help in this situation. Be aware of the tricky texts or emails that ask you to give up your information your money.
- Giving My Loved One a Proper Burial
Give the pandemic and current wartime state, the funeral scam typically surfaces out of national tragedies . Request pleas for money to bury deceased family members or even desperation for money for plane tickets to attend a funeral. Emotions take over, and most people do want to help. Treat emails or other communications with caution. Experts warn that you do not send money directly to someone you do not know through a payment app or website.
4. I’m Defending Your Freedom
Our world is in a current fragile state and there is genuine concern for what will happen. Scammers know how to play on emotions to “help others,” This scam will pull at your heartstrings and test your sense of patriotism. Think twice if you happen to hear from someone claiming to be an American soldier stuck in Ukraine.
It is important to note that American servicemen and women will not make these types of please. Similar requests from someone claiming to be a Ukrainian or Russian soldier may even ask you for money, help get a message to their family, or a request of supplies. They should be ignored and treated as scam calls.
5. I Love You
Romance scams are incredibly lucrative. The FBI estimates that victims of romance fraud lost $1 billion in 2021.
These types of scams work so well because or defenses are down. We are attracted to someone, we want to fall in love and it is hard to fathom that beautiful woman or handsome man isn’t who they are.
Given the currently situation, be on alert for someone who tells you they need to leave the Ukraine or Russia immediately because of the war, and have a plan to build a life with you. This scammer will love bomb you, send you photos, videos and even “sext” you. Shortly after, money requests start for food, rent, and airline tickets to come to see you. They will have you turned so upside down with worry and concern you may do whatever you need to save them.