5 Parking Ticket Scams Happening This Fall

Top 5 Parking Ticket Scams: How They Work

Parking ticket scams have become increasingly prevalent, with scammers devising new methods to target unsuspecting drivers. In this article, I’ll explore the latest parking scams you must be aware of to protect your finances. The first one is very prevalent because it could happen to you regardless of where you live, so beware.

Here they are:

parking ticket scams


1. Parking Ticket Online Scam

Imagine this scenario: you quickly stop to run an errand and park in a seemingly legitimate spot for just a few minutes. Upon your return, you find a parking ticket placed on your windshield.

The ticket appears to be issued by a department of your city’s administrative offices, and it instructs you to pay the fine online—a seemingly reasonable request. However, the trouble lies in the sophistication of these scammers. The ticket may look official, and the payment website might seem legitimate, but it’s all an elaborate scam.

Watch the video below to see more about these fake parking tickets:

How To Avoid The Online Parking Ticket Scam

To avoid falling victim to this scam, verify the website’s authenticity in two ways:

  • Run the domain name through our free website validator or scam link checker.
  • Check for “https” in the browser’s address bar (look for the secure “s” at the end of “http”).

When in doubt, contact your city’s administrative office to confirm the ticket’s validity.

2. Parking Ticket Scam as a Collection Letter

In this scam variation, you receive a collection letter in the mail. The envelope is labeled “Parking Collection Services” or similar, depending on your city’s administrative structure.

The letter claims that you owe a fine ranging from $35 to $150 for unauthorized parking in a local parking lot, with or without specifying the lot’s name. The letter provides a post office box as the address and is labeled as a “Notice of Assignment to a Collection Agency.” You are instructed to call the provided phone number to settle the fine.

See below a screenshot of a fake parking ticket I just received. You could also get this, regardless of whether you live in the United States, Canada, Australia, or the United Kingdom.

parking ticket traffic

As you can see at the bottom of the screenshot, the photo proof of your apparent “negligent driving” is also offered. Don’t click on that. You will be redirected to a website where you are required to put in more personal information just so “you can prove your identity.”

How To Avoid The Collection Letter Scam

Only make payments over the phone after confirming the legitimacy of the claim. Avoid using the phone number listed in the suspicious letter. Instead, search for your city’s official parking department number on the city’s official website.

Let me show you three more scams.

3. The “Phantom Meter Maid” Scam

In this newer parking scam, fraudsters pose as uniformed meter maids or attendants. They approach you as you’re about to leave your parked vehicle and claim that you owe an immediate parking fine.

To add credibility, they may display what appears to be an official badge or uniform.

How To Avoid The Phantom Meter Maid Scam

Request proper identification from anyone claiming to be a meter maid or parking attendant. Note their badge number and take a photo if possible. If you doubt their legitimacy, do not pay on the spot; contact your city’s parking authorities to verify the claim.

4. The Fake Parking Permit Racket

In this scam, individuals offer fake parking permits at a lower cost than official permits. These permits are often sold online or through unofficial channels. Purchasing these fake permits can result in fines and penalties when authorities discover their illegitimacy.

Always acquire parking permits directly from authorized sources to steer clear of the Fake Parking Permit Racket. These could be such as your city’s official website or designated offices. Be wary of online deals that seem too good to be true.

5. The Parking App Phishing Scheme

In this digital age, scammers have developed parking app phishing schemes. They create fake parking apps that mimic popular, legitimate ones. Users unknowingly download these fraudulent apps, providing scammers with personal information and payment details.

You can do a couple of things to avoid falling victim to the Parking App Phishing Scheme. Download parking apps only from reputable app stores and verify the developer’s identity. Check app reviews and ratings before installation.

Protect yourself and your hard-earned money by staying vigilant against these parking ticket scams. Always verify the legitimacy of any parking-related communication and seek official channels for payments and inquiries. Remember, knowledge and caution are your best defenses against these fraudsters.

How To Report a Parking Ticket Scam

Let your close family and online friends know about these parking ticket scams. Feel free to share this article if it was helpful. Meanwhile, you can report scammers and any other dubious activity to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using the portal below:

Report To The FTC Here

How To Protect Yourself More

If you want to be amongst the first to receive alerts about the most notorious scams every week, subscribe to our Scam Detector newsletter. You will receive periodic emails from us with insightful tips. That will include how to prevent fraud and information about the newest tools you can use to fight crime.

Meanwhile, feel free to educate yourself with some other fraud-related articles. They are listed under this paragraph, so that you know more about online security. Last but not least, if you have any bad experiences, make sure to use the comments section below to expose other scammers.

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selma hrynchuk
Selma HrynchukSelma is a fraud prevention specialist renowned for her expertise in private eye investigations and a remarkable partnership with law enforcement agencies. Beyond her investigative triumphs, her public speaking engagements and written works have empowered countless individuals to protect themselves and stay ahead of deceptive schemes. Selma's legacy shines as a tenacious agent of change, unyielding in her commitment to battling fraud and ensuring a safer world for all.

9 thoughts on “5 Parking Ticket Scams Happening This Fall”

  1. I received a parking ticket in the mail from the City Of San Antonio and it has my correct license plate number and a 35.00 fine. I have not been to San Antonio for 40 years and I live 4 hours away. I checked the ticket number on the City of San Antonio web site and it has my ticket listed there. I sent an email to them stating their officer must have transposed some numbers and that it is a mistake. Surely they can look at the ticket and see the vehicle description. (hopefully they put one there) . It would cost me twice the amount to drive there and contest. Not sure what will happen as of this post.

  2. Linda Ruth Geraci

    Numerous Parking tickets from City of Las Vegas for car I sold 2 yrs. ago. They want money sent to Los Angeles, CA??

  3. Just got one of these on an old account I rarely use anymore. They did get the city right but the e-mail itself was amateurish with obvious spelling and grammar errors and the links were just colored lines. Even looking at the source showed there was no link there for either the picture or how to unsubscribe

    Checking the address it was for a Latvian site called "altdotfamily.com". Going to the site just brought up "Site is operational!" in Russian and that’s it.

    Remember: Unless you have cleared it with the city to connect your e-mail address to your license they will never send you an e-mail saying you need to pay a parking ticket.

  4. Received a notice from the City of Antioch, California Wants payment sent to a PO Box in Denver Colorado. I have never been to Antioch.

  5. Scammers must believe there are a lot of stupid people out there for this one to work. I got this notice for an unpaid parking ticket in SAN ANTONIO, TX (which I’ve never been to) and sent from an AUSTRALIAN (.au) email address. At least pick a location closer to where I live, which is approx. 4500 km from San Antonio, and use a PHONY Texas email address — maybe then I’ll bite.

  6. I just got this in an email I don’t even live in California… YES it is a SCAM

    City of Los Angeles records indicate that a parking citation(s) issued to the vehicle described below has not been paid. This fines and applicable penalties area past due and must be paid within the next ten calendar days. DMV records show that you are/were the registered owner at the time this vehicle was cited. Therefore, you are legally responsible for responding to this notice.


  7. Yes l know better myself too to be fool by these scammers, as l have written in the past and true to this date that after sending a total of 18 e-mails to BidouBids.com still have not reply to me nor to,my bank sincelejo already stop my credit card from Feb-28-2014

    I will be more careful in giving my credit card online to these auction site like BidouBids.com, since nothing is free and what a hassle trying to get my money bank from my bank

    Have a nice day

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