September 30, 2022

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Ukrainian-born woman said her identity had been stolen in attempt to seize donations: ‘I don’t feel protected’

Ukrainian-born woman said her identity had been stolen in attempt to seize donations: 'I don't feel protected'

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A Pennsylvania woman born in Ukraine – who has been raising money and gathering vital supplies for her home country as the war between Russia and Ukraine rages on – strongly advises others to make sure they know exactly who and where to send relief donations.

She has good reason to warn others: She was cheated trying to do good.

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Lesia Yorzowski, who has lived in the United States since 2004 and served in the US Army from 2009-2017, told Fox News Digital that she discovered that someone had created fake Instagram account in her name.

Under no circumstances would this be very disturbing – yet there was an extra layer of deception.

Lisia Gorowski is seen with her husband Michael (left) and their 9-year-old daughter Anna. Someone impersonated Lesya Jurgovsky on the Internet – and now she’s talking about what happened.
(Lesia Gorovsky)

Jorgovsky was raising funds and rations for people in her beleaguered homeland. She said whoever created the fake account was impersonating Jorgovsky in an attempt to solicit donations directly from her loved ones.

Jorgovsky said she suspected the money would have been kept by her impersonators.

“I don’t feel protected on Facebook.”

While Jorgovsky still maintains private fundraising for Ukraine, she’s decided to move all her other fundraising efforts from social media, now that she’s discovered the fraudulent account.

“I don’t feel protected on Facebook,” she said regarding fundraising via the platform.

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Fox News Digital reached out to Meta, formerly Facebook, Inc. , which also owns Instagram, for comment.

Lesia Gorgosky's daughter, Anna, helps with fundraising efforts.

Lesia Gorgosky’s daughter, Anna, helps with fundraising efforts.
(Lesia Gorovsky)

Jorgovsky said she reported the fake account to Facebook and Instagram, but has yet to receive a response. While Jorgovsky was speaking with Fox News Digital, the fake account was still active.

“My friends are still getting weird messages from Instagram,” she said.

“I never had an Instagram account before.”

Jurgovsky first learned about the fake account after her friends contacted her saying they had received strange messages from an account using her name on Instagram.

At first, these friends believed that Jurgovsky created a page on Instagram and that someone had hacked it.

“I’ve never had an Instagram account before,” Georgowski said.

For all those willing to donate to relief efforts, Lesya Jurgovsky recommends either donating to people you know - or looking for a church that will accept donations on behalf of those in Ukraine.

For all those willing to donate to relief efforts, Lesya Jurgovsky recommends either donating to people you know – or looking for a church that will accept donations on behalf of those in Ukraine.
(istock)

Jurgovsky moved there to the United States in 2004. During her time in the US Army, from 2009 to 2017, she worked in vehicle maintenance. After that, she settled in Pittsburgh with her husband.

With war torn apart in her native country, Jurgovky has raised nearly $5,000 using Facebook’s charitable donation platform. She also helped send money and supplies to Ukrainian orphanages and the country’s military.

The needs are great: 2 million children have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24, Fox News reported on March 30. UNICEF also appreciates that More than 2.5 million children They were internally displaced within Ukraine.

After the fake account was discovered, Lesya Jorgovsky decided to transfer funds from the Facebook platform.

Overall, the United Nations believes that more than 4 million people have fled Ukraine during the conflict so far.

Aside from the money, Jurgovsky sent first aid kits, water backpacks, sleeping bags, batteries, and chargers.

Contributions exceed $12 million to support FOX CORP for the Red Cross of Ukraine

After discovering the fake account, I decided to transfer all the money from Facebook.

“My advice is to donate to people you know. If you don’t know someone, go to church.”

Recently, Jurgovsky announced on Facebook that she is planning an Easter egg painting event in collaboration with her local church. She said that half of the money collected from participation fees will be allocated to support the Ukrainian people.

While she still uses social media to help build awareness, any money she collects for Ukrainians now goes directly to a bank account she herself controls.

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Fox News Digital reached out to the Better Business Bureau to gain insight into online fundraising and best practices. Sandra Guile of the BBB shared tips on how people can protect themselves when donating online to charities or fundraisers.

“Before clicking the donate button, give only groups that you know personally or have an association with,” Guile said. “Read all there is to know about the organization hosting the fundraiser, and ask questions,” she advised.

These questions, she said, include, “Where does the money go? How will the money be used?”

Sandra Guile of the Better Business Bureau shared ways that people can protect themselves when donating to an online fundraiser. "Give only to groups that you know personally or have an association with," advised.

Sandra Guile of the Better Business Bureau shared ways that people can protect themselves when donating to an online fundraiser. “Only apply to groups that you know personally or have an association with,” she advised.
(istock)

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the BBB organization has warned of possible scams. Scammers not only steal money from people of good will, but also prevent money from reaching people who really need help.

Those looking to donate are advised to check Give.org for information on various relief programs, the BBB advised. The office also notes that it is important to do research even before donating to established organizations.

“We are working around the clock to protect you, your donors, and fundraising organizers, to ensure that all fundraising efforts are complied with.”

The US crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, which has raised more than $50 million in connection with the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, announced on its website that every Ukraine-related fundraiser is being reviewed to ensure that funds are delivered to the appropriate recipients.

“We also verify that donors and regulators act in accordance with US and international laws, including global financial laws and regulations, and evolving economic sanctions,” the company wrote.

On its FAQ page, GoFundMe addressed the Ukraine crisis – noting that the transfer of funds during the war “includes specific compliance checks”.

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“We work around the clock to protect you, your donors, and fundraising organizers, to ensure all fundraising efforts comply with US and international laws and regulations, and within our Terms of Service,” GoFundMe wrote online.

Jurgovsky also recommends that everyone exercise caution when it comes to donating online.

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“My advice is to donate to those you know,” she said. “If you don’t know someone, go to church. If they don’t raise money, they’ll at least know where to send you.”

“Also make sure the money goes to orphanages, military needs and refugees,” she added.

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Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.

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