HEMET, Calif. -

Hemet residents are being advised today to be of scam artists seeking funds to help those impacted by the Mountain Fire.

``While there is a real and justified need for charity and resources in the mountain communities, we know that financial scam artists tend to follow tragic events and prey on well-meaning citizens,'' Hemet police Chief Dave Brown said. ``We want to be proactive and make sure our generous community is not taken advantage of.''

Brown recommended that any donations to help those who may have been displaced or otherwise impacted by the monster blaze go through recognized nonprofits with ``proven track records.''

``Panhandlers and solicitors who claim to be collecting money for fire victims are many times not legitimate or are operating outside the scope of established organizations,'' the chief said.

Anyone who believes they have been victimized by a scam or has knowledge of fraudulent representations was urged to call the Hemet Police Department.