Red light and automated traffic cameras help police catch drivers breaking the law, but a new group is using the system to target victims.
It all starts with a phone call.
“A lot of them are targeted the elderly, perhaps non-English speaking and or immigrants,” says Des Moines Police Sgt. Jason Halifax.
Sgt. Halifax says the Fraud Department has seen a new scam increase in recent weeks involving both red light and automated traffic cameras tickets.
“The one common thread between all these scams is, they want money sent immediately or very quickly. Very soon after the phone call and they typically want you to get a cash card or a green dot card, cash cards like that,” says Sgt. Halifax.
The scammers call and say you were caught speeding on one of the cameras and if you don't send money or a cash card immediately you will be arrested.
“If you are issued a red light ticket or speeding ticket from the automated traffic enforcement system with the city of Des Moines, we`re not going to call you if you don`t pay it. We`re not going to call you and tell you, 'you have to pay it right now or we`re going to arrest you,' we`re not going to do that,” says Sgt. Halifax.
Sgt. Halifax says the best defense is to hang up and not send the money.
If you want to investigate further look up the number on your own in a phone book or online and call to confirm the charge.
Des Moines Police say scams in general tend to increase this time of year, because of the tax rebates some people are receiving.