Utah Department of Commerce Warns of Ukraine Charitable Giving Scams

March 4, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Mar 3, 2022) – The Utah Department of Commerce’s Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) urges Utahns to give wisely related to relief efforts in Ukraine. There are many legitimate groups coordinating aid for victims and their families, but imposters typically try to use global events as a way to steal donations from those trying to help.

“Our hearts go out to those affected by the devastation happening in Ukraine, “said Executive Director Margaret Busse. “As we all try to find ways to help, both by giving money and by raising money from others, let’s be certain to do so in a way that enables accountability and transparency.”

Busse explained that imposter fundraising that isn’t transparent destroys trust in the charitable giving process. Then when the next disaster happens, givers are less inclined to give.

Generally, individuals, groups, or organizations soliciting funds from the Utah public for a charitable purpose is required to register with the DCP. Those registrations are compiled into a searchable database that shows where the charity is headquartered and what percentage of the funds collected are used directly on the cause.

“The Utah way is to help those in need of assistance,” said Division Director Daniel O’ Bannon. “We applaud and encourage this generosity. Unfortunately, because scammers can and do capitalize on this, givers need to do their homework and make sure the group they’re giving to is actually doing what they say they’re going to do.”

Often well meaning individuals start their own efforts to collect funds and provide a donation line. Givers should be warned that it can be challenging to know if a crowdfunding effort is legitimate or if the account they’re sending money to has been set up by an imposter.

Consumers should approach crowdfunding efforts cautiously, including those soliciting funds through personal accounts. (Venmo, PayPal, Zellie, etc.) Givers should ask questions and investigate organizations and stories before giving money. Individuals crowdfunding through those same methods and sites should be transparent with their terms and disclose how they handle funds received. This includes those who use their personal accounts to collect funds for charitable assistance efforts. Those individuals providing direct relief still need to register with DCP so they can be accountable and transparent in their fundraising efforts.

The following tips can help the public trust that their donations will be used for a legitimate charitable cause.

1. Give wisely by researching before you give. Check the Division of Consumer Protection’s website before you give to see if a charity is registered. Do some research online. A few minutes of research can increase your trust that the money will go to the purpose you intend it.

2. Consider giving to the Driven to Assist fundraiser announced by Governor Cox. Donations made through Community Foundation of Utah (CFU) will be matched by local businesses and used to help Ukrainian refugees.

3. Never feel pressured to give-on-the-spot. You can always give after you do your homework.

4. Get it in writing. Ask for a receipt showing the amount of your contribution and the name and contact information of the person or organization you contributed to.

5. Need help or spot something concerning? Contact the Division of Consumer Protection at (801) 530-6601.

Additional Charitable Giving Resources
guidestar.org – Guidestar

bbb.us/charity – Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance

charitynavigator.org – Charity Navigator

charitywatch.org – American Institute of Philanthropy

FTC public education materials in English: ftc.gov/charityfraud/

FTC public education materials in Espanol: ftc.gov/donaciones

For more information or to file a consumer complaint contact the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at (801) 530-6601 or log on to; consumerprotection.utah.gov