Flower Mound Police Warn of “Red Light Cam” Scheme

The Flower Mound Police Department reports at least 20 residents have received calls from a scammer claiming to be with their department.

The caller reportedly tells the victims that they owe the city money for unpaid red light camera violations and then demands it be paid via a Reloadit prepaid card.

However, Flower Mound doesn’t have any red light cameras, and even if they did officers say they’d never go about collecting unpaid fines in that way.

“This guy’s slick,” said Capt. Wess Griffin, with the Flower Mound Police Department. “He’s playing a scanner in the background for authenticity. He’s using a lot of the lingo and things like that.”

At least one victim actually sent the caller money.

“What makes me mad more than anything is that I’m normally very good about understanding that stuff, and he got me,” said Mark Miller, who lost $500 when he gave the man the number on the card.

Griffin said these schemes are becoming increasingly more convincing as callers utilize Internet relay technology to appear as though the call is coming from a police number, even looking up actual officers' names online to use and convince the victim they’re with the department.

"No government agency is ever going to solicit money over the phone in that fashion and especially not in a threatening manner like this is apparently happening,” said Griffin.

Even if the victim doesn’t fall for it, making the call is considered impersonating an officer and carries a third-degree felony charge. However, Griffin said the calls are often very difficult to track and come from other countries.

Flower Mound police have heard from 21 people who got calls since Jan. 26, and five of them were taken for a total of $3,900.

The Flower Mound Police Department has alerted other agencies throughout North Texas, and warns everyone to be on guard for the calls.

Police recommend you report any calls like this to them right away. They say the dead giveaway will be the request to wire the money, use a prepaid car like Green Dot or Reloadit or send the money in another untraceable fashion.

Officers also recommend residents sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry. They say it won’t keep schemers from calling, but will keep most legitimate sales people from calling and make it easier for you to spot schemers.

NBC 5's Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.

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