Temple Terrace added three new red light cameras on Sept. 1 and has been issuing warnings to motorists who run these lights. On Oct. 1, they’ll begin issuing citations.
The new cameras give the city a total of five. They’re located:
- northbound on 56th Street at Riverhills Drive (new)
- northbound on 56th Street Bullard Parkway (new)
- northbound on 56th Street Fowler Avenue (new)
- westbound on Bullard Avenue at 56th Street
- southbound on 56th Street at Fowler Avenue
According to the city, the cameras are designed to make roadways safer, but police are also cautioning residents to beware of potential scams, said Mike Dunn, the city’s public information officer.
Red-light camera scams have been reported in Texas, Maryland and California, officials say, and with cameras now installed in Temple Terrace, Tampa, Hillsborough County and elsewhere, just about anyone could become a victim, said Deputy Chief Bernard Seeley, of the Temple Terrace Police Department via a press release from Dunn.
According to the release, the scam works like this: A resident receives a telephone call from someone claiming to be from a law-enforcement agency, such as the police department, saying the resident has an overdue citation from a traffic camera violation. The caller advises that if the outstanding violation isn’t paid immediately, an arrest warrant will be issued.
The scammer will usually request that the ticket be paid via credit card, debit card, or by asking for bank account information, Dunn said. The scammer may also ask for a Social Security number or other personal information. Of course, the scammer makes off with the money, perhaps wiping out a bank account, before the victim realizes this was a scam.
“We’re not aware of this scam being carried out locally yet, but with new cameras coming online throughout the area, it’s only a matter of time,” Seeley said in the release. “We want to get ahead of the game and warn residents to beware of possible scams involving red light cameras.”
This type of scam works because many people are intimidated when they come into contact with a law enforcement officer and are afraid of being arrested, Dunn explained. Motorists may think a traffic camera captured them running a red light without their being aware of it, when in fact they may not have committed an infraction at all.
In the case of an overdue citation, Seeley said, no one will contact you by phone or e-mail to advise that you owe a fine. You will only receive a Notice of Violation by U.S. mail. Never provide personal information over the phone to a stranger who calls you, police say, even if the caller sounds “official.” Instead, contact your local law-enforcement agency directly to inquire about the incident.
Temple Terrace’s red light traffic camera program is administered by American Traffic Solutions Inc. Each violation is reviewed and approved by the Temple Terrace Police Department before the registered owner of the vehicle is issued a citation. The fine for a first offense is $158.
Temple Terrace residents who have questions about their red light camera Notice of Violation should call the Temple Terrace Police Department at 813-506-6500.