Did your teen driver just run a red light? Possibly, but a much greater likelihood is that they’re the latest target of scammers. Crooks have used phony traffic citations for a long time, sending out fake tickets or simply demanding money from victims over the phone, under the pretense of being from law enforcement. Now they’ve realized that teen drivers are a whole lot more vulnerable to this type of scam and, best of all, are unlikely to tell their parents about their supposed violation. And the crooks talk tough, threatening their victims with jail.
It’s fairly easy for them to track down young drivers via social media or just by making random calls. Once they score a hit, they say something like, “Your car went through a red light camera. We tried to contact you. And, as a new driver, you are going to go to jail or your license will be taken away unless you pay a $250 fine.” The fine, of course, must be paid via an untraceable prepaid debit card.
If you have a teen driver in your family, tell them about this scam (while emphasizing they should never run a red light!). The police never issue citations by phone, nor do they demand payment via debit cards. Also, warn them against posting their cell phone or car details online. Otherwise, these fake police officers can quickly put together a fairly convincing call.