Sarasota police warn locals of red light camera scam - FOX 13 News

Sarasota police warn locals of red light camera scam

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The call came out of the blue.

"I thought it was real, at first," said Melanie Gochnauer.

The man on the line told the 20-year-old that he was a collection agent and that she had a ticket.

He was calling to collect.

But for Melanie, the call didn't feel right.

"I wanted to know and have some type of proof and record," she said.

The caller told Melanie she had an unpaid red light camera ticket and she had until 5 p.m. to pay it or her license would be suspended and extra fees would be tacked on.

"I was kind of confused. I know a lot of people who have gotten the tickets from traffic cameras and they get pictures of their car and their license plate and I never got any of that," she said.

He told her she needed to go to Walgreens, put $87 on a Green Dot Card, and then call him back.

She did call him back, but only with questions.

"I called him back to ask him where the intersection was and he said he couldn't give me that information, it was too personal. But he had my address and my cell phone number," she continued.

Melanie was on to him.

"I started asking some questions and then he kind of started to take more time with his answers and he tried to get me away from them and not talk about them," she recalled.

She went through her mail to make sure she didn't overlook anything, and then called the cops. They confirmed it was a scam and offered advice.

"If you get a violation, you get that in the mail. If you get a second violation, you get that in the mail. We will still never call," said Sgt. Bryan Graham.

Melanie didn't fall for it and she wants to make sure no one else does either.

"Be confident in yourself and know that you are smart and you can tell when your instincts are telling you something," she added.

Sarasota police say, if you have any questions regarding a red light camera or red light camera citation, contact Sergeant Bryan Graham or Officer John Lake at 941-487-0022.

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