Notre-Dame fire, attacks of 2015… Examples of false solidarity campaigns after a tragedy are legion. In the context of the war in Ukraine, cybersecurity experts therefore call for caution. At present, “We don’t see a massive phenomenon of crooks trying to profit from the Ukrainian conflict. But we are not immune to the situation changing,” observes Jean-Jacques Latour, head of cybersecurity expertise for the Cybermalveillance.gouv.fr website.
Prioritize known associations
The specialist nevertheless alerts to the presence of fraudulent calls for donations on Facebook. Recurring case: the false profile of a Ukrainian woman trapped in Mariupol with her children, who needs money to get out of it. “These kind of publications with bloody photos must arouse suspicion”, explains Jean-Jacques Latour, who encourages reporting the profile to the social network so that it is blocked.
To donate money without risk, the expert recommends heading to “organizations that have a storefront” – the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Secours Catholique, the Fondation de France… With regard to local initiatives on a smaller scale, a simple phone call can sometimes remove doubts about the identity of the organizer and the seriousness of the planned actions.
Anti-fraud and reporting teams
Faced with the fashion for online pots, it is also better to turn to known platforms (Leetchi, Gofundme, Helloasso, etc.) which have an anti-fraud team. “We verify the identity of each person who opens a kitty. And for the 1,200 collections linked to the Ukrainian conflict, our teams systematically ask for supporting documents to verify the destination of the funds,” explains Alix Poulet, general manager of Leetchi.
→ ANALYSIS. The call for donations, a practice that has grown over time
When the creator of the kitty wishes to finance actions on the spot, Leetchi requires him to donate the funds to one of the three NGOs active in Ukraine, which the platform has selected, transfers to Ukrainian accounts being prohibited – this dates from before the war – because of the risk of embezzlement.
If, despite your vigilance, you think you have been deceived, Jean-Jacques Latour recommends filing a complaint and reporting fraudulent Internet addresses on Signal Spam or on the Pharos platform of the Ministry of the Interior, which can act to put an end to scams .