‘Red light’ identity theft scam started in Texas

Ted Hubert

Years ago the threat of an IRS audit haunted people night and day, but the times have changed, and the most dreaded is to hear that your identity has been stolen.

This is my view from talking to victims of identity theft. Your life is taken over by the urgency to reclaim your uniqueness.

The time spent on the telephone, to your attorney, to credit card companies, to law enforcement agencies, family members, friends is overwhelming.

Then you are hit w ith the out-of-pocket expense. Sleepless nights, often breaking up in tears, anger, plus other miseries can be added to the list.

Plan to attend the Milam County TRIAD general membership meeting Oct. 6 in the Yoe High Auditorium in Cameron.

Pat Foster will present a program on identity theft. Refreshments are served at 6:30 p.m. and the program starts at 7.

It will give you information to avoid falling victim or maybe you can help a family member or friend from being victimized. Don’t stay away because you think this can’t happen to you.

It can and the chances of you falling into a con artist trap increase each year.

These thieves hit when it is least expected and they are ruthless, heartless, people with no sympathy for their prey. The only thing important to them is the score.

You can’t insult them or hurt their feelings in any way. The best advice, is to distance yourself from them and give them little to no information about your personal life.

Several schemes to steal one’s identity, have been reported in MCT articles including the grandparent scam, the jury duty scam, and the change of address card.

The newest scam started here, in Texas, the “traffic light camera scam.” It works this way. You get a call from someone identifying themselves as a police officer collecting fines from those, caught on camera, running a red light.

You can’t see the photo, but, there is no need, your guilt is clear. Your vehicle and tag are captured in the camera, or so you are told.

You have a choice of paying now over the telephone or when you are arrested.

Unfortunately, most prefer to pay now. What card do you use? You tell them your card number, the expiration date, your date of birth, and even the three numbers located on the back of the card.

You may not know what happened until the next credit card statement arrives. Be sure you examine every charge on the credit c ard statement ever y month.

Repor t your unauthor ized charges immediately.

The reason for having the cameras installed differ. Safety of our citizens is nice if you say it fast, but the flip side of the situation argues that revenues are the true purpose for investing in the camera technology.

Motorists have complained that the amber light time has been shortened to entrap drivers.

One observer mentioned parking the car. Walking would eliminate red light running and would surely save lives.

This is true, however, the car does not cause deaths. It is the speed we are allowed to travel.

Do you wonder why the Texas legislature raised the speed limit on some highways to 75 miles per hour?

Lower speed limits would save lives and gas. In like manner, the gun is not responsible for robberies nor is the pen responsible for misspelled words.

Milam County TRIAD thanks the Citizens National bank for sponsoring the first MCT program presented during Crime Prevention Week this October.

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2011-09-29 digital edition

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