December is a busy time with more of us using our cars for shopping than usual. We are in a rush to get those last minute presents and scammers take advantage of this busy period. Make sure you don’t fall foul to these parking scams.

Car Parks Introducing Fees
The Scam
It was recently brought to our attention in Next Door that a gentleman was approached in a Tesco car park by a “Tesco manager”. He informed the gentleman that the car park had been sold to the NCP and had to pay £6 in order to avoid a £125 fine. The parking machine he was asked to use swallowed his card (and subsequent ones). The “manager” said he’d get someone to come and fix the machine but of course he never came. Even worse, the cards were then used by the scammer on large shopping sprees.

Our Advice
If you find yourself scammed by this nasty trick then the first thing you should do is report the cards as lost or stolen to the banks and inform the police. Share your story in Facebook groups and Next Door so that others are aware of this.

If you are able to, check with staff INSIDE the supermarket about if the car park has been sold or press any assist buttons on the ticket machines and a real official should be able to help.

Fake Traffic Wardens
The Scam
Similar to the “car park being sold” scam is when a traffic warden approaches you and asks you to use certain ticket machines. These machines invariably will then swallow your card and you may find huge amounts of cash being removed from your account.

Our Advice
If you are prepared, try to note down the scammers appearance, any car that they might be in (they may pose as a traffic warden) and call 999.

parking scamIf they approach you, ask the traffic warden or official to go away or you will call the Police.

Whatever you do, don’t hand over your card or PIN details or pay for parking whilst that person is around.

Unfortunately it seems that older people seem to be targeted so make sure your elderly relatives are aware of this scam.

Here are two other scams to be aware of. You can see how they work in the Real Hustle videos, links below.

Out of Order Parking Machines Scams
Scammers turn up to a public car park and put an out of order sign on a parking ticket machine. Then they position an “official” in a high visibility jacket by the machine and they encourage those wanting to park to hand over the cash to the official. The scammers can easily make over £100 in an hour because who is going to question someone in uniform? Even worse than that is that the penalty for parking in some car parks without an official ticket is going to be a fine of £100. That’s being caught out twice, ouch!

Watch how it works in this video from The Real Hustle.

Pay by Text Parking Scam
Another shocking scam is pay by text signs. This is a genuine form of parking payment in some areas, but as you will see from this film, the scammers have put up fake signs and all the payment details go to a mobile belonging to the con artists. The people parking texted many details used to clear out bank accounts including their card security code and address.

Watch how it works in this video from The Real Hustle.

So, stay safe this holiday season and question anything unusual if you are suddenly asked to pay for parking if you haven’t been in the past.

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