One of the newest in identity theft scams can trick people into thinking they owe on a red light camera ticket they never received. The tricksters may call or email you claiming to be a police officer, and make threats unless you pay the past-due "ticket" with a credit card immediately. They may ask for personal information in an attempt to steal not just your money, but your identity as well. Such information they may want might be your name, driver's license number, license plate number, address, or other information.
Here's the facts about red light camera tickets, when to act, and when to beware-Red light camera systems are certainly prevalent in over 70 cities just in California. Real red light camera tickets come in the form of a mailed notice from the court, with pictures of the driver and license plate, a specific California vehicle code violation, courthouse information, a due date, and information on the driver or registered owner of the vehicle. Ignoring true red light camera tickets filed with the courthouse can result in a failure to appear notice, civil assessment (late) fees, a possible warrant, and driver's license suspension. If you discover that you have a failure to appear for a red light camera ticket you never received, contact the court directly to resolve it. It's important to note that the court does not correspond with defendants via phone or email about traffic tickets. California law set specific standards in court procedure for issuing red light camera tickets, and it would be illegal for them to serve you by phone or email. If you get this type of call, "dismiss it's authenticity immediately," says Greg Muender, founder and president of TicketKick, a California legal company specializing in helping drivers contest red light camera tickets. Another way you can sense a scam is if the caller/emailer is asking for your information. The court would already have all of your driver information. "Do not give any personal or credit card information to the called or emailer. It's best to get as much information as you can on who's calling, and contact the police immediately," Mr. Muender added. Believe it or not, another type of red light scam may actually come directly from the police. The police department may send you a red light camera "snitch ticket", in an attempt to try to get you to give up information on who was driving the vehicle in the photos so they can send a legitimate ticket. Such notices are not real tickets filed with the courthouse, and do not result in any consequences if ignored. Snitch tickets typically do not have any courthouse information, due date, amount due, and may say something like "do not contact the court about this notice." To summarize-
- Ignore phone calls or emails about supposed red light camera tickets.
- Ignore snitch tickets issued by the police department.
- Do not ignore real red light camera tickets.