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How not to get involved with crooks and how to find out if a volunteer is real.

Tetiana Huliaieva, Office Manager Akvelon Ukraine, shared her own experience:

“I’ve been volunteering since 2014. I started with raising money among my colleagues and friends and we bought things directly from shops and markets – bulletproof vests, uniforms, boots, generators. Since that time I’ve got a lot of personal contacts in different areas and I trust these people.”

Since February 24 the needs have risen dramatically, a lot of manufacturing companies have stopped working. Everything that had been available before was sold out not only in Ukraine, but partially even in Europe.

“We always contact manufacturers directly, not middlemen, and deliver goods to Ukraine with a help of our acquaintances.

Now army surplus stores are open again, so we go there ourselves and buy all necessary stuff from private sellers upon the recommendation of other volunteers. Sometimes, at our own risk, we try to buy something from strangers, but we always look through their social media profiles beforehand.

An important criterion is personal communication during which you can understand that something is wrong. Besides, you always have to check the documents for goods. That’s the information about purchasing.

Regarding transferring funds to organizations or volunteers, I can say that all adequate organizations, especially big ones, publish information about their cash inflow and after that financial records on purchases, not only expenditure accounts.

Even some volunteers publish information about the cash flow on their personal cards, take account statements and post them on social media.

Also official organizations or official volunteers have to send reports to the Internal Revenue Service. There they carry out a complete accounting cycle, that is to say, the control is at the state level.

Of course, one can always find loopholes to steal something – everything depends on people. We also had an unpleasant experience when we bought bulletproof vests from a trusted guy, paid 475 000 hrn and got not the promised steel, but welded springs. The guy got tricked by his supplier.

Unfortunately, no one is safe from such situations, that’s why it’s always necessary to think critically, study the information carefully and be alert.”