Financial Tips

4 PARKING LOT SCAMS TO WATCH FOR

By
on
July 31, 2019

1.) The bogus parking attendant

You arrive at an event where an attendant points you to a nearby lot. You pull in, pay for your spot and receive a payment stub. But, when the event is over, both the attendant and your car are gone.  

How it went down: A scammer collected your money and ran off. Your car was parked illegally in the lot, and the lot’s real owner had it towed.

The fix: Only entrust your car to a parking lot attendant with an official logo, a real sign and a contact number. If you’re suspicious, do a quick search on the company.

2.) The trick-it ticket

In this scam, you’ll return to your car after an event to find that you’ve been ticketed for illegal parking. You’ll also find a note informing you about a lawyer who can lower the ticket, or about an online site through which you can pay the fee.

How it went down: Sometimes, the ticket on your windshield is authentic. Or, it’s stuck on by scammers. In both scenarios, though, the helpful note about a lawyer or an online platform for paying the ticket is bogus. The “lawyer” is usually a scammer hoping to milk you for some cash and the online site is riddled with malware.

The fix: Avoid tickets by using official parking lots only. Look for real signs instead of just a “Park Here” notice slapped onto a pole.

If you’re ticketed, look for an official police logo or check the authenticity with your local police department. If you need the assistance of a lawyer, contact one on your own. Only pay a ticket online if you’re absolutely sure it’s a police site.

3.) The phony mechanic

In this scam, you’ll return to your car to find that it won’t start. A bystander claiming to be a mechanic will offer their assistance. After extorting you for cash, they’ll “fix” your car.

How it went down: The “mechanic” disabled your car in an easy-to-fix way while you were gone so they can appear to “fix” it.

The fix: If your car suddenly won’t start and a “mechanic” happens to be passing by, refuse their offers for “help.” Call AAA instead.

4) False accidents

You’re backing out of a parking space, careful to make sure the coast is clear, when there’s a sudden bump. You’ve hit a pedestrian who promises to make an insurance claim against you unless you pay them off.

How it went down: The accident “victim” was hiding out of your line of vision and then leaped behind your car as soon as you started driving.

The fix: Look for a closed-circuit camera and ask the lot’s security if you can review the tape. Hopefully, you’ll see the scammer pulling their ruse.

Your Turn: Have you ever been targeted by a parking lot scam? Tell us about it in the comments.

SOURCES:

https://www.tmj4.com/call4action/stay-alert-for-springtime-scams
https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-02-2011/spring-scams.html
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