The Russo-Ukrainian war has been raging for over a month, making global headlines every day since. The majority of countries side with Ukraine and try to help it in any way possible. So far, Ukraine has raised over $200 Million in cryptocurrency donation from around the world. Despite the overwhelming support to Ukraine, many criminals decided to profit from it.
Dark net & Morals
When behind the anonymity of the dark-net, it is common to find a lack of morals. Criminals have been known to target anything to make a profit. The most recent example is the Red Cross hack that targeted vulnerable people supported by the organization.
Check Point Research is a cyber-security firm that looked into Ukrainian donations via the dark-net. Although there are many legitimate ways to donate to Ukraine through the dark-net, many scammers have flooded the scene.
About the Scam
Donations to Ukraine via the dark-net have been made popular by mainstream media. Right after the war in Ukraine started, Russia started closing down on independent media. The last independent Russian outlets were shut down, and news channels from abroad were sent home. Following this, agencies like the BBC launched a dark-net version of their website to reach out to Russians. Twitter also launched an onion service.
These websites display donation advertisements for Ukraine. Many of these advertisement spots have been taken over by scammers that keep the funds. One of the fake advertisements featured an image of a starving mother with its child. That picture has nothing to do with Ukraine and was taken from a German news paper.
To avoid such scams it is important to make sure that the organization you are donating to is real. Ukraine set up a site that contains a list of NGOs that donate all the funds directly to Ukraine. The site is called Defend Ukraine, and the NGOs listed on it have so far received over $10 Million in donations.
The dark-net has always been known for its criminals and scammers. Despite this, it is still unfortunate considering the situation and desperation in Ukraine. These scams just show that some scammers have no morals and would go to any length getting into your pockets.