Authorities: Beware of bogus traffic citation calls

Author: Steve Patrick, Managing editor of digital content, spatrick@news4jax.com
Scott Johnson, General assignment reporter, sjohnson@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 30 2013 12:53:26 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 30 2013 11:56:01 PM EST
Clay County Sheriff's Office cruiser
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Clay County Sheriff's Office and Green Cove Springs police were working cases Monday related to scam calls made to residents related to made-up traffic citations.

According to authorities, a man is placing calls posing as a law enforcement official and is telling residents to pay for an overdue red light camera traffic tickets to avoid arrest.

One resident realized the call was bogus, hung up and contacted the Sheriff's Office agency to report the scam. Another resident made the payment via a pre-paid card. 

“He sounded authoritarian, he sounded just like a cop I guess,” said one victim. The man Channel 4 spoke with didn’t want his face revealed. He was frustrated and embarrassed that he was a victim of the scam.

“I feel stupid because I got caught with my guard down, but then I gave him my debit card information,” said the man. “He said ‘a judge was going to put a warrant out for you,’ and I didn’t want to have anybody put any handcuffs on me, so he said ‘if you pay this $365 fine with your debit card’ we’ll take care of it and we’ll be alright.”

The victim Channel 4 spoke with is not the only person in Clay County who fell victim to this scam.

“This is first that we’ve had using red light cameras in Clay County,” said Clay County Detective Brian Curry. “But we get all types of scams and they focus on elderly more than anybody.”

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind people that they won’t be calling people who haven’t paid traffic tickets, infact, Detective Curry said officers never make phone calls to collect fines.

“On the red light cameras if you do get ticket, you're not going to get call from officer, you're going to get a ticket from American Traffic Solutions,” said Curry.

No actual citations existed for the people targeted by the caller and detectives are working to identify the caller/criminal behind this scam.