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Crime

RCMP warn Albertans about potential scams related to wildfire situation

A file photo of the RCMP logo. .
A file photo of the RCMP logo. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

As wildfires continue to burn in northern Alberta, police are warning residents in impacted areas about reports of scams emerging as a result of the flames.

“High Level RCMP has received reports of possibly fraudulent job postings for services related to the wildfire and recent evacuation,” police said in a news release on Friday afternoon. “These postings may not be legitimate and are being used to obtain personal information in support of future identify theft.

“If you have applied for a job online, and are being asked personal questions such as, ‘What is your maiden name?’ there is a chance the job posting is not legitimate.”

High Level RCMP also said they have received reports that some residents are “being solicited by email or phone for donations in support of firefighters or affected residents.”

“Do not share your personal information with them or donate money,” police warned.

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Earlier this spring, the Chuckegg Creek wildfire saw about 5,000 residents of High Level forced to flee their homes. They’ve since been allowed to return, but some other nearby communities remain under an evacuation order.

READ MORE: Evacuation order lifted for some northwestern Alberta residents

Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ ongoing Alberta wildfire-related coverage.

“To support affected residents, donations by cash or cheque can be made out to the ‘Chuckegg Creek Fire Community Recovery Fund c/o the Town of High Level,'” the RCMP said. “This fund will be held by the Town of High Level and governed by representatives of the town, the Dene Tha’ First Nation and Mackenzie County.”

READ MORE: High Level wildfire evacuee describes ‘post-apocalyptic’ skies

High Level RCMP also said anyone requiring contractors or cleaning services as a result of the wildfire situation should talk to their insurance providers first. According to police, there are a lot of people walking door-to-door to offer their services but not all of them may be properly licenced or certified to do the work they’re offering to do.

“Ask about their professional qualifications and if they have a business licence with the Town of High Level,” the RCMP said.

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Police also offered other tips to help recognize fraud:

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  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is;
  • Ignore communication from unknown contacts;
  • Only buy things from reputable organizations;
  • Never send money on a dating site;
  • Keep an eye on credit card statements to catch any charges that shouldn’t be there;
  • Research organizations you plan to hire or work with through the Better Business Bureau;
  • Don’t leave personal identification in your vehicle.