Scammers using Washington State mudslides to steal donations

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WICHITA, Kan. - Images of the Washington State mudslides move us and urge us to donate to help those in need.

It's something scam artists know, all too well.

"Obviously, they're pulling on people's heartstrings, because we all want to donate," says Denise Groene, Kansas Director of the Better Business Bureau. "We all have sympathy for the victims. And those scammers know that, so they're trying to cash in on an opportunity."

Charities in Kansas must register with the state before accepting donations. Legitimate organizations like the Salvation Army have strict guidelines, for soliciting help from the public.

"Typically, we don't ask for credit card numbers over the phone," says Maj. Glen Caddy of the Wichita Salvation Army. "We ask people to log into a secure website or send us a check. Obviously, giving credit card information over the phone is very risky."

The Better Business Bureau suggests you 'drive your own traffic' when online and not respond to uninvited solicitations, either through email or social media. Insist on taking the initiative yourself, and do your homework.

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