Scammers Use the Ukraine Situation to Scam Business Owners

I am watching the situation in Ukraine unfold in horror.  Many times I find myself in tears, watching people clutching their few belongings and leaving their home by any means possible, including walking across the borders to neighboring countries.  I am astounded by the generosity and kindness of those neighbors and of people all around the world doing what they can to support the Ukrainians.  To be fair, I also feel badly for the Russian people, whom I believe do not have accurate information about the war and who do not want this war but are tortured if they speak out against it. 

In part my heart aches because this was my family’s story many, many years ago.  My mom did genealogical research on her family and our roots go back to 1790 in a small town northwest of Lviv.  This town, Trochenbrod, was obliterated by Russians during WWII.  A 5-family farm town in the middle of nowhere with nothing left but a dirt road and a marble memorial marking the spot of its existence.  The family history says that people of the town were lined up and shot or locked in one of the buildings and burned to death.  Because of my mom’s and others’ research there is now information on Wikipedia about this town.  The saddest part of this story is that we are seeing history repeat itself in the exodus of Ukrainians because of one man’s egotistical and maniacal power grab.  Hitler reincarnated.

So how does this relate to ethics? Sadly, I am receiving emails asking me, as a business owner, to join a growing number of international businesses large and small to make a public pledge refusing to buy or sell Russian goods.  So far, all of them are scams enticing me to click on a link and lose my internet security to support a cause I badly want to support, if not for me but for my ancestors and all those who have gone before me. As a flag bearer for positive ethical conduct, this is the lowest form of unethical behavior and it’s my responsibility to call it out. It should be yours as well.

I badly want to do something, anything, to help Ukraine survive this unwarranted and undeserving attack on its sovereignty. I’ve donated money. I’ve kept up on the news. I’m considering participating in protests (Not something I’ve ever done but there’s always a first time). So when I received this email I thought, this is something I can actually do!  But my suspicions on clicking on links from anyone I don’t know kicked in and I did a little digging to see if this was legit.

This is the body of the email.  Looks legitimate, right? Looks reasonable, even, right?  It’s a complete scam.  I’ve removed the links to prevent inadvertent clicking…


From: Mark Stephenson <>
Subject: General Inquiry

(08) 8305 1673

Message Body:

Following on from the 3rd March Meetings held by economic development organizations globally; many organisations have started to pledge their committment to helping stop Putin’s illegal war with Ukraine.

I ask that your organization make a public pledge today stating that you will:

– Not buy goods and services from Russian businesses.
– Not sell goods or services to Russian businesses.
– Replace Russian goods or services with those from Ukraine where possible.

I ask this not to punish normal Russian people, many of whom are good and also despite this war which was started by a petty tyrant; but to be part of the international movement to put massive pressure on the economy of Russia so that the war will come to an end through lack of resources.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”


500 companies from across the globe – small and large – have already signed the public pledge. It costs nothing but 2 minutes of your time.

If businesses across the globe commit to this action of refusing to do ANY business with Russia then we can bring this war to an end.

Please sign the public document today and add your organizations voice in ending the war.

Subscribe Me: Subscribe me to your mailing list


The only good thing to come out of this is that I learned there really is an International Economic Development Council.  Huh.  Who Knew? However, there is no formal petition circulating with 500 business owners pledging to stop doing business with Russia. At least not that I’ve found.  

I’m tired of having to monitor every single link and email I get.  I’m tired of those who think they can take advantage of situations as horrific as the attack on Ukraine.  That’s why I’m writing this email and posting the entire scam message in its entirety – so you can see unethical people at work, creating even more tragedy for those kind-hearted souls who are frustrated by their inability to prevent a tyrant from just marching in and taking property that does not belong to him. Writing is something I can do, and so I have done one small thing to support Ukraine and stand up for ethics in this world.  I’ve also reported this email as scam. Hopefully I can prevent one person from clicking on this link and losing their identity, their on-line security, or their financial resources.

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