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:
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.
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:
How To Protect Yourself More
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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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