What you need to know before donating to Ukraine through Airbnb

Make sure the owner of the property is Ukrainian and not an investor living in another country who is scamming you for money.

PHOENIX – It’s a charity effort that’s going viral on social media. People give money to Ukrainians through Airbnb and encourage others to do the same.

The idea is that the Ukrainian hosts will get the money quickly. However, the donors will not really stay in Ukraine in the midst of war.

Is this a safe and secure route to help rather than going to a trusted charity?

Attorney Samuel Doncaster owns the law firm Fraud Fighters in Phoenix. He said you should do your homework before booking with the vacation rental service as a way to help.

First step? Make sure the owner of the property is Ukrainian, as Airbnbs are often owned by investors who don’t even live in the same country as their property.

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After all, you don’t want your hard-earned money falling into the wrong hands.

“So in a place like Odessa, which has a lot of cultural ties to Russia, there’s actually a good chance that a lot of those Airbnb owners are Russian investors,” Doncaster explained. “Would you be okay with doing this to support Ukraine if you knew the money was really going to a Russian oligarch?”

The best way to make sure your money is going to the right place is to read the reviews on the listing. If they’ve had the listing in place for a while and visitors have personally met and written about the owner, that’s a good sign.

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“One of the red flags you want to look for is newness to the list, right?” he said. “Someone who tries this fraudulent activity, there is a good chance that he even tries to offer you a property that does not even exist geolocated in Ukraine, he could be sitting anywhere in the world trying do that.”

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