Beware of Fake Phone Calls From The Department of Public Safety
Red-light cameras are easy to spot at busy Marshall, Texas intersections. The cameras take pictures of red-light runners and the drivers are fined. But scammers are abusing the system. Claiming to be with DPS, scammers call victims demanding payment for overdue red-light tickets.
"People are gullible, unfortunately," says Jeff Gulledge. "It's pretty bad. Really bad. I think that they should be prosecuted heavily. It should be taken seriously."
Gulledge says he's not surprised by the illegal activity. But he hopes he can avoid scams like this by screening his calls carefully.
"That's why I don't answer those phone calls," says Gulledge. "I don't answer it unless I know the person."
So what should you do if you get a call from someone claiming to be with DPS? First, don't give out any personal information, like a credit card number or a social security number. And second, report it.
"Try to capture any information they have - maybe off of their caller id," says Jean Dark, with DPS. "And then, contact law enforcement and provide that information to them."
Trooper dark says DPS never collects traffic fines and won't call about tickets.
"Identity theft is clearly a crime on the rise," says Dark. "Be aware that it's happening. Guard your identity. Make sure that you're not divulging personal information over the phone to someone you don't know in a call that you have not initiated."
Gulledge hopes that advice will keep him from becoming the next victim.
"Knock on wood," laughs Gulledge.
Anyone suspecting fake calls should report them to the Consumer Protection Division of the Texas Attorney General's Office at 1-800-621-0508.