You get home from work, check the mail and you get a weird letter. It is from a law firm in another state saying how you have been turned into collections because of a traffic camera incident from early the previous year. It looks official and gives you a website to check out along with a PIN (Personal Identification Number) with instructions on how to view the pictures. What do you do?

This is the scenario that one Washingtonian presented on Reddit. There were a few questions I have just reading over what he posted. Was he ever in that other state? He never quite says if he was there, he does comment about going to the website, but the pictures show him driving “down a street in my town.

The fact that it is a collections company reaching out before actual law enforcement also makes me question things. Reach out to your local court to ask how long it takes before a ticket is turned over to collections and which collections company is used. It feels unlikely that a ticket in Washington would be handled by a collections company in another state.  With so many scammers out there, it really makes you weary about who you can trust.

According to, in most cases, out of state traffic tickets will notify your home state, courtesy of the DLC (Driver’s License Compact) (NOTE: Does not work in Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Massachusetts). Checking with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) on your driving record would help indicate an issue.

I would also do some investigating on the website. Check the BBB (Better Business Bureau) about the collections company. If you were NOT in that state, then it could be a case of mistaken identity or a scam.

Phone calls and explaining can help to take care of it, if it is the former. If it’s an actual scam, you SHOULD be able to figure that out relatively quickly. If nothing else, narrow down where the incident occurred and reach out to the local authorities for confirmation.

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Do not blindly pay money until you know it is legit. Asking questions and staying vigilant are key!

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Gallery Credit: Rik Mikals


Gallery Credit: Bill Trotta

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