Police are warning people about red-light ticket phone scams that are popping up across the country.
Although phone scams where criminals pretend to be police or government officials for money is nothing new, the current con artists are telling people to pay for a red-light camera citation or be charged with contempt of court, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
So what can you do to avoid being a victim of these scammers?
How Will I Know if I'm Being Scammed?
The red-light ticket phone scams involve criminals who call victims tell them that they're local police officers. In Georgia, the scammers are going as far as using names of real police officers in your area, according to the Journal-Constitution.
The caller will then tell you that you must send them money to pay for a red-light camera citation or you'll be charged with contempt of court. Some scammers will demand your credit card and Social Security numbers in order to process the payment. In Texas, the fake callers have threatened to arrest the victim unless he or she gives up his or her personal information, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
If you've received those calls, it's important to remember that police departments will never call you to collect money on traffic fines, including red-light citations. Additionally, police departments will never ask you to put money on a pre-paid debit card in order to pay fines. For example, in New Jersey, a caller told a woman to go purchase a $365 Green Dot money card and that he'd call her back so she could give him the serial number on the back of the card. Real police would never do that, reports NJ.com
What Should I do if I Receive a Call?
Scammers who trick people into sending them money can be arrested for criminal fraud. If someone calls and tells you that he or she is a law enforcement official collecting money for a traffic citation or any type of ticket, hang up immediately. Then call the police to report the scam. If you've already been a victim of the red-light citation scam, contact your credit card company immediately to stop payment.
However, if you've received a legitimate citation in the mail for a red-light camera violation, you can appear in court to fight the ticket.